Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
I felt nervous about a five-week prayer class I agreed to teach at a local church. Would the students like it? Would they like me? My anxiety was ill-focused, leading me to over-prepare lesson plans, presentation slides, and class handouts. Yet with a week to go, I still hadn’t encouraged many people to attend.
In prayer, however, I was reminded that the class was a service that shined light on God. Because the Holy Spirit would use the class to point people to our heavenly Father, I could set aside my nervousness about public speaking. When Jesus taught His disciples in His Sermon on the Mount, He told them, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14–15).
Reading those words, I finally sent out a class announcement on social media. Almost immediately, people started registering—expressing gratitude and excitement. Seeing their reactions, I reflected more on Jesus’ teaching: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (v. 16).
With that perspective, I taught the class with joy. I pray that my simple deed becomes a beacon and encourages others to shine their light for God as well.
When have you felt nervous or self-conscious about sharing your deeds and gifts for God? How can your deeds and gifts help others, and what are ways you can share them?
Jesus, empower me to let my God-given light shine so others can see and glorify You.
The concept of light shining in the darkness is one of the primary themes of John’s writings, but it also has a strategic place in Matthew’s gospel. After Jesus returned from being tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Matthew records the launching of Christ’s public ministry by quoting the words of Isaiah the prophet: “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16; Isaiah 9:2). These words provide the context for His instruction in today’s Scripture text about being a light to others.