14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15nor 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.…Mathew 5:14-15
There are all kinds of theories about how to motivate people. We can do it through guilt, fear, or shame. But these were not Jesus’ methods. Jesus motivated through positive messages of hope and encouragement.
Consider the lesson from scripture above. Jesus says to his followers, “You are the light of the world. . . .” Can you imagine that? Here was a motley crew of farmers and fishermen, tax collectors, housewives and prostitutes in a tiny and remote village in an obscure part of the world; and Jesus says to them, “You are the light of the world.” Talk about a statement of faith! Let’s go further than that. Talk about a crazy idea! Light of the world? It must have sounded absurd at the time especially to them. Only Jesus could have seen that through this motley crew. God would indeed change the world forever. At the time, however, it probably sounded like so much idle chatter. “You are the light of the world,” he said; and so they were. Now do you want to hear something really absurd? So are we.
Jesus reminds us that the beginning of change for the better is often an internal mental struggle before it is a physical one. The struggle to bring light to the world begins within our minds. We have to overcome our own self-doubt, our own past mistakes, and our own self-imposed limitations. Jesus challenged those thoughts within his followers and continues to do so with us. Once his followers see within themselves the potential Jesus sees – Watch out world!
In our liturgical church, we are finishing up with the season of Epiphany and will be entering the season of Lent which begins with Ash Wednesday. In this new season, the readings, hymns, and prayers will remind us that we, like the people of Israel and the disciples of Jesus, often face great challenges. Some of these challenges will confront our resolve and faith. Some of these challenges will lead us to question ourselves, our self-worth, and our abilities. Some of these challenges will question the light that Jesus believes is within us. Here it is important to remember the encouraging words of Jesus – “You are the light of the world.” As we are reaffirmed through the teachings of Jesus, we will understand that all things are possible through the glory of God. May you, my friends, continue to be encouraged in your daily walk by knowing that God has faith in you. And may your light bring light to the world.