Stephen told his parents that he needed to get to school early every day, but for some reason he never explained why it was so important. Yet they made sure he arrived at Northview High School by 7:15 each morning.
On a wintry day during his junior year, Stephen was in a car accident that sadly took his life. Later, his mom and dad found out why he’d been going to school so early. Each morning he and some friends had gathered at the school entrance to greet other students with a smile, a wave, and a kind word. It made all students—even those who weren’t popular—feel welcomed and accepted.
A believer in Jesus, Stephen wanted to share His joy with those who desperately needed it. His example lives on as a reminder that one of the best ways to shine the light of Christ’s love is by gestures of kindness and through a welcoming spirit.
In Matthew 5:14–16, Jesus reveals that in Him we’re “the light of the world” and “a town built on a hill” (v. 14). Ancient cities were often built of white limestone, truly standing out as they reflected the blazing sun. May we choose not to be hidden but to give light “to everyone in the house” (v. 15).
And as we “let [our] light shine before others” (v. 16), may they experience the welcoming love of Christ.
At the time Jesus spoke these words, most homes used small oil lamps for lighting, which were most effective placed on a lampstand. Covering a small lamp under a bowl (Matthew 5:14–16) would extinguish it. In describing His disciples as the “light of the world” (v. 14), Jesus emphasizes that it’s impossible to genuinely be a disciple of His kingdom without living according to the kingdom values described in Matthew 5. To live in opposition to these values is as useless and illogical as being tasteless, ineffective salt or invisible light (vv. 13, 15).