Is Your Candle Lit?
Luther climbs the steep steps to get to the pulpit. A little breathless, he composes himself and then starts to preach to the swelling audience. “My brothers and sisters,” he says, “I want you to look at me. See what I have done. Look at my righteousness and good works. I have fed the hungry and I have put a roof over the homeless. I have paid my tithes, I have fought Lucifer, I have read my scriptures, I have kept the commandments of The Lord . . . ”
This is a very dramatic example of what not to do when responding to the commandment to “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.”
Luther, this fictional, self-righteous man is seeking the approval of his people and doing a poor job at that. He is, in no giving light to all that are within his house. He is a vain and self-righteous fool.
Let’s read Matthew 5:14-16:
14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Let’s look at this verse line by line to see how to apply it to our lives.
As disciples of The Lord, we are among those that are the light of the world. Certainly we are a light to those around us.
Imagine a big hill with a city at the top, especially at night with the street and house lights all on creating a yellowish glow than can be seen for miles around by the valleys below. The city with its lights all aglow is a small town with its citizens walking about, living their lives, doing good to one another, coming and going. The lights in the city are powered by all of the good works done by her villagers.
This city is not boasting to the valleys below “look at me! Look at how great I am!” It’s just a city that chooses to live in light, not darkness.
Now let’s read again verse 15. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
Why does one light a candle? There are many reasons, I can think of three. One is to create light in darkness. The second reason is ambience such as using a candle at the dinner table. A third reason would be to light a pretty candle to create a romantic dinner for two.
What would be the result of putting a bushel basket over the candle in any of these examples. It takes away the light of the candle. What good would it be light a candle only to cover it up?
This passage of holy writ uses the analogy of an uncovered light so that others may see. Verse 16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
I want to emphasis the phrase “that they may see your good works” not hear about them, or be told about them like in the example above.
The teaching of letting your light shine is a sermon on being a good example to others. Don’t tell them about all your good works, don’t brag about them, just do good-by keeping the commandments and living like Jesus would.
You don’t have to wait for an audience to gather before you do good works. Let the good you do, be the way you live your life.
Ask yourself this question “if someone were to follow your example, would that lead them to God?”
If one should ask “how can I be a good example?” The answer is easier than you think. Read the Bible, ponder and pray over what you have read and ask Heavenly Father to help you apply it in your life. Live the precepts taught in the good book and you will be a candle set on a hill providing light to those around you.
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