PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14 ESV
Have you ever thought about what the brightest city in the world is? There’s some debate surrounding the answer; however, many researchers believe it to be the city of Las Vegas, NV. My hometown! With over 12,000,000 bulbs glowing daily, National Geographic writes, “From space at night, Las Vegas is the brightest city on Earth.”
One of the bright and beautiful parts of Las Vegas is the Las Vegas Strip, featuring over 30 different hotels and casinos. Now, imagine the Las Vegas strip with all those buildings and millions of lights, but this time envision them powered OFF. Two “w” words come to mind: “weird” and “waste.” It would be weird to have that many beautiful and extravagant buildings and not showcase them with great lightning. And it would seem like a waste to have everything you need to light them but choose not to use them.
Allow this picture to draw your attention to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16, where He tells His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus expected His church to shine amid the darkness. Not to blend in or lessen our brightness but to be the light where God has placed us. Failure to do so can come off as weird and wasteful. Jesus illustrates this by referencing an oil lamp equipped with a guiding flame that suddenly one decides to place under a basket to diminish it.
As followers of Jesus, let’s pray to walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8) Through our faith in Christ, we are no longer bound by sin and darkness but are now adopted into the family of God. Day by day, we are being conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29), and may we remember that it was Him first who said: “…”I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12 NIV) The great Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, shed light on this topic, stating, “The Bible is not the light of the world, it is the light of the Church. But the world does not read the Bible, the world reads Christians! “You are the light of the world.” O, Lord, help us shine!
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” – Ephesians 5:8 CSB
Father, thank You for waking me up today and filling me with breath in my lungs. Thank You for creating light and darkness and for putting Your light in me. Please help me to shine Your light today. I know that, left to myself, I would walk in darkness. I’m not bright, strong, or wise enough to do this on my own. I ask You for Your supernatural strength and guidance to help me be the light wherever You place me.
When I’m feeling weak or tempted to turn my light down, Lord help me find the endurance to shine through it. Lord, use me to bring brightness to someone elses day today. Shine through me, for Your glory, in Jesus’ name, amen!