Light up your world!

Posted Jun 27, 2020

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Daily Scripture

Matthew 5:14-16

14 You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.

Did You Know?

We who live in the Kansas City area greatly miss worshiping together in our sanctuaries. But thanks to our gifted worship and technology teams, the pandemic has actually allowed us to shine our light into thousands more lives, nationally and internationally, through online worship services and classes and by the Sunday worship service broadcasts on Kansas City’s KSHB TV. Please pray for the talented, adaptable people who have made this light shine so brightly in these dark times.

Reflection Questions

Today we can control and create light far more easily people in Jesus' day could. Oh, they had oil lamps, candles and torches—but no one then could even imagine a phrase like “light pollution.” We can light empty parking lots more brightly at 2 a.m. than the main street of Rome or Jerusalem was ever lit. Jesus used one of the Bible’s most potent symbols to say his followers “are the light of the world.” “The Bible is enveloped by the imagery of light, both literally and figuratively. At the beginning of the biblical narrative, physical light springs forth as the first created thing (Gen 1:3–4). At the end of the story the light of God obliterates all traces of darkness: ‘And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light’ (Rev 22:5). Between these two beacons the imagery of light makes nearly two hundred appearances.”*

  • Jesus’ second image was a lamp in a dark home, or a city atop a hill, seen from miles away. On a dark night, especially if you are not sure of your way, there is something wonderfully reassuring about a light. Scholar William Barclay wrote, people “are to see our good deeds. In Greek there are two words for good. There is the word agathos which simply defines a thing as good in quality; there is kalos which means that a thing is not only good, but that it is also winsome and beautiful and attractive. The word which is used here is kalos.”** Are there settings or relationships where you feel like putting “a bowl” over your light, hiding God’s presence in your life? Prayerfully choose one appealing way you’ll shine your light in the weeks ahead.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, in this darkened, lonely, hurting world, make me more and more transparent so that your light can shine out of me like a beacon, spreading love, grace and peace. Amen.


* Article “Light” in Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III, general editors, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 509.

** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Matthew—Volume 1 Chapters 1–10 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 125.

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Brent Messick

Brent Messick

Brent Messick is retired now, but was formerly Church of the Resurrection’s Managing Executive Director of Operations.

When you go shopping for light bulbs, do you pay any attention to the lumens or watts? Or do you just pick up a package of bulbs and go?

As you probably know, lumens and watts are measures of brightness in light bulbs. There are many different types and strengths of light bulbs. But they all have one purpose: to shine light before people.

I am probably overthinking it, but I try to get the light bulb that provides the right amount of light to fit the room or fit the occasion. I might put a 40-watt light bulb on a nightstand lamp for reading purposes. Or a 75-watt light bulb for a small room. Or a 100-watt light bulb to fill a larger, open living room. Different ways to shine the light.

Today’s Scripture passage reminds us that we are all human light bulbs to shine our light before people so that we can glorify God. The strength of our light can vary depending on the occasion. Your light can shine when helping a neighbor, or donating to pop-up food drives, or singing in the church choir or playing in the orchestra, or serving on a mission trip, or peacefully protesting social injustice, etc. There are so many opportunities to shine your light. But your light bulb has to be turned “on”, and not burned out or turned “off.”

Are you a 40-watt light bulb? A 75-watt bulb? Or a 100-watt bulb? Or maybe you are a 3-way light bulb depending on the service opportunity. Whatever wattage of light bulb you are, your light is a blessing to the community.

On a side note, here’s an adaptation of the old joke, “How many retired CFO’s does it take to change a light bulb?” Just one. Yes, I can change a light bulb all by myself.

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