Rise and Shine!
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Matthew 5:14-15
If you had to put living the Christian life into a nutshell, what would you say about it? No doubt we could come up with many good answers from Scripture, but I really like this one simple answer from the Sermon on the Mount - “Rise and shine.”
Without question, Jesus Christ is the light of the world. He said so Himself (see John 8:12 . And when we receive Him as Lord and Savior, we become His light to this darkened world. As bearers of His light, we have a clear cut assignment: Rise and shine. Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket! Put your light on the lampstand so it can illumine the whole house.
WHERE LIGHT IS MOST NOTICEABLE
Have you ever turned on a flashlight in broad daylight? It is hard to see if it’s working, isn’t it? The beam from the flashlight gets swallowed up in the sunlight. But, if you turn on that same flashlight in the darkness, the beam is easily seen, and it makes all the difference in the world when traversing a dark pathway.
Perhaps God has placed you in some dark places. Perhaps you are working in a dark place where people routinely take God’s name in vain, tell dirty jokes, and make fun of holy things. Perhaps you are in a family or a school where you are the only one interested in following Christ. Perhaps you are physically in a dark place, sick and infirmed and wondering what God’s purpose in this affliction could possibly be.
The natural response to dark surroundings is to run away. “I don’t like this, Lord. Please get me outta here. Put me in the sunshine.” But God says, “My child, I need you in this dark place. I have put you there to rise and shine!”
DO LIKE PAUL AND SILAS
Paul and Silas found themselves in a dark place. They were put in an inner prison in Philippi, beaten and bloodied and fastened to the stocks for the crime of preaching the gospel. They were in a dark and nasty place, surrounded by vicious, godless criminals. The Bible says, “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Phil. 16:25).
Did you catch that? They were letting their light shine in a very dark place, and everyone there took notice.
I don’t know what darkness you are facing today, but God does. He wants to use you in that dark place to make a difference and shine for Him. Perhaps you need to stop praying, “God get me outta here,” and start praying, “God, help me to shine for you in this dark place. Help me to act and react in a way that would cause people to see that You are the One who can give a song even in the midst of the suffering.”
Where is your light today - on the lampstand or under the basket? No matter the difficulty, God has commissioned us to rise and shine for Jesus until He calls us home. Will you be faithful? Will you rise and shine?
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.