Just so, your light must shine before others, so they may see the good that you do and give glory to God. Matthew 5:16
I got stuck in a long grocery store line not long ago behind a couple folks who were apparently old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. After the preliminary catch up, they began to carry on about the economy, government, gas prices, insurance costs and even proclaim that the human spirit wasn’t worth much anymore. One of the gentlemen talked about how hard it was to even get out of bed and deal with it all. The other man agreed and said he was glad he never brought children into this disastrous world. I nearly bit a hole right through my tongue trying not to jump in and point out a hundred places to find joy. I decided the better thing to do while I was standing there was to pray for them because I was afraid if I didn’t; the gloom would choke me to death before I paid for my bananas!
We can find most things we’re after if we just look hard enough. That includes good and bad stuff. The two men in the grocery store certainly had a radar lock on the bad stuff! I suppose there was some truth to their words but dad gum it, if the bad stuff is all you’re looking for, that will end up being all you see and pretty soon it clouds your vision completely. I live in the same world they were talking about but I’ve seen some pretty great stuff lately that trumps the bad stuff. I think it depends on where you’re looking and how your perspective is adjusted. Earlier this month at a school fundraising event, a couple hundred people opened their wallets and handed over more than twenty-five thousand dollars in a matter of minutes to make some necessary upgrades to the school. Just this week, I learned about a couple who donated all the milk and butter for a community fundraiser breakfast. Two weeks ago the middle lovelies and their families raised over $1,300 in 4 days to give to a young woman on her way to Haiti to do some mission work. She was able to place every penny into the hands of the priest and nuns caring for some of Haiti’s poor. I also recently heard a story about a woman whose husband was very sick and she mailed the car payment only to have the check returned with a note saying the balance on her vehicle had been paid. These are just a few examples of God’s goodness in the past couple weeks. It happens all the time…all over the country! Generosity is a beautiful and God inspired thing. You’ll be amazed how many times you see it when you begin to look for it.
The magic of this verse from Matthews Gospel is in the intention of the generosity and good works. The purpose of these words is to remind us that our goal in being generous and compassionate is to give glory to God not to ourselves. It’s not nearly as impressive or “Christ-like” when people feel the need to announce the good they do. That whole “toot your own horn” thing isn’t cool. What I love is when someone does a great good or beautiful service as a way to thank and praise the God who has blessed them. There is a lot of darkness in our world but we are called in this Gospel reading to be Christ’s light of goodness to those in need. See, the thing about light, it never touches just one thing…it spreads! The antidote to the gloom and darkness the men in the grocery store were talking about is the light of Christ and his goodness and kindness. Look around and see where you could spread a little of that light and compassion. The good that you do doesn’t have to be huge or costly, simple and sincere is just as powerful. Ask God to point out someone who could use a little “good light” in their life and then share a gift of time or talent with them as a way to give Glory to the Father. I guarantee your heart will be as bright as a sunny spring day if you praise Him in this way. We have to take some time to train our eyes to look for the light and goodness that surrounds us and if we can't see it, then it's our job to create it.
A Seed To Plant: Jot down the names of three people who are going through a tough time right now. Think of a simple “good” you can do for each of them. The second part of your homework is to make a list of all the “good things” you witness for a week.
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.