Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:15–16
Have you ever lit a lamp and then stuck it under a basket? That wouldn’t make any sense. But sometimes we do just that with the light of the gospel.
Jesus pointed out something quite obvious: “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket” (5:15 NLT). In other words, “You are the light of the world, but you’ve got to let the light shine. Don’t be timid.” And He told us why: so that people would see our good works and then glorify our Father in heaven (see 5:16).
Jesus was inferring that the light that will shine from us is “good works.” What are good works? Well, Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). He simply did good things wherever He went. Historically, Christians have done the same. Most of the good things that we take for granted in our society today, morally and socially, are a direct result of the influence of Christianity on the world.
Christianity was responsible for doing away with infanticide and abortion in the Roman Empire. The fact that today a pedophile is a criminal is a direct result of the influence of Christians. Christians have introduced education as well as medical services. Some would argue, “Medicine goes back to the Greeks and the Egyptians.” Yes, it does, but the Christians took it to a completely different level. Christianity has also done a great deal for the rights of women and children and toward the abolition of slavery.
I once heard a politician say how disastrous it would be if we tried to run the world today on biblical principles, and he insinuated that the Bible supported slavery. I thought, Doesn’t this man know history? It wasn’t the atheists or agnostics who fought against slavery; it wasn’t the Muslims or Hindus. It was the Christians.
In the end, of course, our goal is to get the gospel to people so they can be saved eternally. But in the process, we can reach out to the poor, help the needy, and alleviate the suffering of the sick. To do good works, we don’t need to launch an organization; we just need to be available and let the Lord lead us.
Here I am, Lord, Use Me
Are you letting your light shine? All you need to do is let the Lord lead you into the good works He has for you. Each of us has different gifts and backgrounds and abilities, and as we say, “Here I am, Lord, use me,” He will open up those opportunities and through them be glorified.