A few years ago, my cousin and brother were in the middle of nowhere in eastern Montana. It was Thanksgiving weekend and they were invited on an annual family pheasant hunting trip for the first time. Not really knowing what they’re doing, my grandpa drops them off to walk up a slough and tells them he’ll meet them at the end.
After a while, it starts getting dark and they are wondering where exactly they were supposed to regroup with our grandpa. Soon it’s pitch black and the temperature is far below zero. They are in the middle of a mile-by-mile wide field. They’ve never been in that area before and it’s likely that nobody else was around for miles. In the back of their minds was the idea that they would freeze to death there that night. Running out of ideas and time, they run to the top of a hill to look around.
Eventually, they spot headlights a half mile away in the distance. Wearing heavy hunting jackets, pants, and boots; they start sprinting toward the lights. My cousin describes it as one of the hardest workouts he’s done. (Being a former D1 wrestler, that’s quite impressive). They’re worried if grandpa doesn’t see them soon, he will drive off to keep looking and the light that is their only hope, will vanish. Exhausted, they finally reach the suburban.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. 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 5:14-16 (ESV)
If it wasn’t for the light of my grandpa’s suburban, my brother and cousin would have been lost in the darkness until morning, if they made it that long without getting hypothermia. In the same way, we are called to shine our light before those that are lost in the darkness of shame, hurt and hopelessness.
I went a majority of my life half-heartedly displaying my faith. A lot of people knew that I was a Christian or at least I went to church, but I never opened up about it. I didn’t want to make people uncomfortable. I was worried what people would think, because I’d heard so many people complain about “those ‘Jesusy’ people”. I guess you could say, I was ashamed of being a follower of Jesus.
“But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 10:33 (ESV)
It’s seems silly now. How could I be ashamed of someone who rescued me and completely changed my life? But still, sometimes I find myself being reserved about my faith. How many of us is that true for? Sometimes I’d laugh it off or do whatever I can to at least somewhat fit in with others. I tried to find the impossible balance of pleasing God while also pleasing people. I wanted a foot in both camps. So I didn’t do anything out of my comfort zone, or more importantly out of other people’s comfort zones, in regards to my faith.
I’d grown terribly lukewarm. But then one evening as I was at church I heard God clearly say to me, “You have something unique to offer, don’t hide in the shadows.” It hit me like a train. I finally realized how much time I have wasted doing exactly that. I knew God had a call on my life, but I let other people’s opinions control me. I had hid my light under a basket.
“While we may appear confident with our selfies and status updates, inside we long for a north star in a cultural Bermuda triangle where up is down and down is up.” -Nick Hall on US News
I realized I might be the only light that some people ever see. I may set the tone for what others think of God. If I’m not confident in my faith, or Im ashamed of it, why would anyone ever come to me when looking for hope? I can’t waste time pleasing those that are blind to the light, when there are people out there who are lost, so desperately looking for hope. That’s one of the main reasons that I started this blog. I started it the morning after God spoke to me as a way to keep myself accountable in this.
It isn’t us that is the source of light, or us who can offer healing and salvation. But it is us who can reflect the light and hope of Jesus. In Psalm 69:30 when David said he would magnify God, he wasn’t saying that he was going to make God bigger. But that he would be an instrument for others to see God and how big He really is.
How about you? Do you live with your faith on your sleeve? Or if you’re anything like me, do you sometimes put your light under a basket? Lets not be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). What can you do to commit to being bold in your faith and put that light on display? There are people out there desperately looking for someone like you that can help them find hope in this life.
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