Let Your Light Shine
By Cindy J Wilson
Glancing out the front window before calling it a night, I noticed numerous twinkling lights on the horizon. Our home was on a hill with a great view of the surrounding area. “Come quick!” I called to my husband. “You’ve got to see this.”
“It looks like a diamond necklace,” he said peeking over my shoulder.
I watched awhile, unable to pull myself away. Then I got binoculars to better observe the lights. There were bunches of cars on a road to the lake I’d never noticed. The green countryside apparently obscured this highway during the day. A blinking red light on the left made me focus more intently. “Wow, a police car stopped somebody. I didn’t know that was a street.” The more I focused—the more details I detected. Floodlights from a nearby resort normally glared in the dark. Porch lights from a few residences had been spotted before. Like popcorn, numerous beams now shouted, "I'm here!" from either recently constructed houses or newly installed yard lights. Multiply those, times individual family members in each, and the number of people in my neighborhood had increased significantly.
An airliner zoomed by to its destination—no doubt full of passengers—perhaps a businessman, a working mother, families returning home, visitors to our city, the flight crew, and many strangers. Little did they know I could see them flickering in the darkness. Then it dawned on me. Our lives should be like that. We’re the light on a hill. According to Matthew 5:14-16, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
I thought about my life as I lay in bed. Imagine that kind of influence. How could little old me penetrate my world in a useful way? I filled my days pursuing menial tasks, accomplishing my responsibilities. I wasn’t looking for appreciation or admiration. No one was even aware what I did—except my husband. Does God expect me to make a difference in this world? Are people really watching me? Our actions speak louder than words, they say. But what exactly does that mean for me? I pondered the issue for days—seriously wanting to know the answer.
“Perhaps you’ve forgotten the significance of kindness, reaching out to others—offering hope, words of encouragement, a plate of cookies for a new neighbor,” He answered.
Let your light shine before men so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matt.5:16 (NIV).
By Cindy J Wilson
“It’s hard to talk about . . . I’m not sure I should,” the troubled woman whispered. “My nightmare becomes real again each time I do.”
I hesitated (for what seemed like five minutes) as she dabbed at her eyes. Here I was engaged in another casual conversation, yet inquiring about deep issues in a person’s life with hopes of getting to know them better. Conflicting questions prevented my brain from fully functioning. If Marsha didn’t want to talk, why would she confide in me right now? Was I at a point for sincerely listening to someone I had just met—and right here in a restaurant of all places? If she longed to spill her guts, was I the right recipient? Texas heat intensified the situation and sweat started dripping from my forehead.
“Maybe it would be beneficial to write your thoughts down,” I suggested. “Perhaps putting words in a journal will provide solace as you consider the difficult circumstances that have brought this pain.” It could also be an opportunity for God to give insight, I theorized—stalling for additional time. I looked out the window and tried to regroup.
Studying psychology once interested me but I quickly changed majors on discovering more was involved when conversing with a frantic friend. Over the years I’ve discovered that I‘m not nearly as insightful as I wish and the little I know usually applies only to me. For some reason, people continue to tell me about all kinds of personal problems. Apparently I still have that I’m here to help look on my face. (Maybe I just ask too many questions.) Perhaps it’s that God sometimes has a purpose for our day, with a simple task like giving a lonely person a smile at the grocery store or saying something comforting to someone who is hurting. He shows us the plan if we’re listening. Both of us end up at the right place at the same time . . . and not by accident.
“I would love to hear more about your pain though,” I said. Marsha tried to smile through her tears but then began crying harder. I reached out and put my arm around her shoulder as the sobs increased. “Can you come to my house tomorrow morning for coffee, somewhere around 9?” I asked softly, reaching into my bag for a pen.
“Oh, yes . . . As soon as I drop the kids off at school.”
I hurriedly scribbled my address on a napkin. My evening was spent considering what I could say or do for Marsha and others I encounter. "What do people around you believe about God, based on what they see in your life? How does your kindness exhibit your faith? Is Jesus visible?"
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord...Psalm 19:4 (NKJV)