Jesus says that we are the light of the world. We are to let our light shine before people so that they will see our good works and praise our Father in heaven. Nobody lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl, he says, but they put it on a lampstand and it gives light to everyone in the house (see Matthew 5:14-16).
What is his point? As followers of Jesus, we are not to hide our Christianity. Keeping our faith in Christ a secret is like putting a lamp under a bowl; it is useless. Instead, we are to do good works so that people will see them and praise God.
What does Jesus mean by “good works”? What should we be doing? Jesus gives us several examples in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
Jesus tells us that we are to be merciful. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” he says. People should see us do things that demonstrate mercy.
Jesus tells us that we are to be peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God,” he says. People should see us making efforts to bring peace into their lives.
Jesus tells us that we should be men and women of our word. “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’,” he says. People should see us as faithful in all that we say.
Jesus also tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecutes us. Most of the time people hate their enemies and hope for their demise. Jesus’ good deeds are different from the ways of this world. Following Jesus will bring attention to us.
The goal of our good works is this: that people will see our works and will praise our Father in heaven. We obey Jesus publicly so that people will be turned toward God.
Many humanitarian organizations exist to do good works for people, to be kind and compassionate and to help those in need. They usually enjoy a place of honor in society. If we also do good things but say nothing about God, then folks may honor us, thinking that we are good people.
If the world sees our good works and gives us credit, then we have failed. Our works are not supposed to persuade people that we are good. Our works are supposed to convince others that God is great.
Jesus expects us to teach others to obey all that he has commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20). In order to ensure that our lives bring glory and praise to God, we must open our mouths and tell people about Jesus and about his words.
So it is not enough to simply learn from Jesus. As true disciples of Jesus we must learn and do. And, more than that, we must also speak. We want our lives to lead people to God so they can know his abundant love.
Our job as believers in the Lord Jesus is to be the light of the world so that people will praise God. We learn, we do, and we speak for the glory of God.
May God’s Spirit make us shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father,
Brother Richard Foster