The Light of the World
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Matthew 5:14-16
Does it seem important to you that Christ calls us what He called Himself? "I am the Light of the world" (John 8:12). "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14).
Servants of Christ shine with His light in a society that is hopelessly lost, left to itself. Now, answer two questions:
1. What is the basic function of light?
2. How can that function best occur?
The answer to the first question is obvious—to dispel darkness. Darkness cannot remain when a light is turned on. I don't care how thick the darkness may be. And the answer to the second question is found in Jesus's own words:
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house."
How can darkness be dispelled? First, by not hiding the light—it must be "set on a hill." And second, by not limiting the light—"on the lampstand . . . it gives light to all who are in the house." What stars are to the night sky, Christ's servants are to a darkened world.
Those in the light are a weird phenomenon to those in darkness. And that is exactly as Jesus planned it.
Think of some distinctive characteristics of light:
- Light is silent. No noise, no big splash, no banners—light simply shines. It's like a single lighthouse along a dark, rugged shoreline. All it does is shine.
- Light gives direction. No words, no sermon. Jesus says that others "see" a Christian's actions; He says nothing about nonbelievers "hearing" what a believer says.
- Light attracts attention. You don't have to ask people to look at you when you turn on a light in a dark room. It happens automatically.
If you are a Christian on an athletic team with non-Christians, you are the light in darkness. If you are a Christian family in a non-Christian neighborhood, you are the light in darkness. The same is true if you are the only Christian nurse on your floor, or student in your school, or professional in your firm, or salesperson in your district. You are the light in darkness—a servant of God who is being watched, who gives off light . . . a very distinct message with hardly a word being said.
At first they may hate the light, but don't worry. They are still attracted to it. Let it shine! Don't attempt to show off how bright and sparkling you are; just shine!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.