I have many wonderful memories as a child, but there is one in particular that I have been thinking about lately. I remember going to our Lutheran church every Sunday with my Dad. Both of us sang in the choir. We even recorded an album titled: Mt. Calvary Sings. It was truly an experience I will never forget. On the album there is a very familiar song that I think most everyone will remember and that is: This Little Light of Mine. The lyrics go something like this, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…” I truly loved to sing this song but did not quite understand what it meant. As I grew older I knew it had something to do with letting others know that I was a Christian and to tell others about Jesus. All are wonderful interpretations and I agree with them both. But it wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned what the true meaning of what it means to let my light shine. In the scriptures Jesus says, “You are the light of the world…” and “Let your light shine that mankind will see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” It wasn’t until I was driving in my car and heard on the radio while living in Arizona that there was a need for new clothing and toys for women and their children in a local shelter. As I heard about this need I thought to myself, “What if that were me? Would I want someone to be there for me?”. My immediate response was YES! I then noticed I was approaching an exit where I knew there was a local Walmart store. When entering the store I grabbed a cart and headed toward the clothing aisle and then to the toy section. As I loaded my cart with toys I began to cry. But they were not tears of sadness, but of Joy. An immense Joy. Unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. It was Christmastime and people were watching me. I can just imagine what they were thinking. But it didn’t matter. As I pushed my cart to the cash register and loaded the items on the conveyer I remember thinking: What is this Joy? I did not find the answer until a year or so later when I was reading in the book of John after moving back to Michigan with our family. In John chapter 15 Jesus speaks of loving our neighbor and he says that when we do he says, “My joy will be in you and YOUR Joy will be FULL.” As I read that the Spirit of the Lord said to me, “Do you remember that Joy you felt that day in the store? That was MY joy.”
Over the years I have learned that when we help other, the least, the hungry and thirsty. The naked and those who are sick and in prison. The stranger without shelter. The orphan and the widow. When we do what Jesus says in Matthew 25:31-46 he promises that we will have HIS joy. Imagine that! The Joy of the Lord. And it comes when I let my Light shine! When I let true Love shine. Not by my words, but by my actions. Friends. The Christian and the world is seeking this Joy. But it can only be experienced, it will only become Full when we love our neighbor with our good deeds. Jesus said, “You are the Light of the world.” I have made you light. Don’t let your lamps burn out. Don’t ignore the hungry, or the homeless or the orphan and the widow. Take your Light, help others and you will Glorify your heavenly Father by your good deeds.
Once we receive his Grace (Eph 2:8-10) we are then created in Christ Jesus to DO good for others. We are then created in Christ Jesus to let our Light Shine! It was then that I began to let MY light shine and bring glory to my heavenly Father. And today is no different. When I help others that have less than I do, I am shining my light for the world to see and Glorify my Father in heaven.