We May Be The Only Christ That Some People Ever See: How Does Your Light Shine?

Posted: January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Luke 8:16-18 — There is an old joke that goes to the gentle rivalry between Methodists and Baptists. It goes like this, “How can you tell the difference between a Methodist and a Baptist?” The punchline is, “The Methodist will speak to you at the liquor store.” This joke is funny but it illustrates a point. Who are we when are not at church?

For the last two days, we have spent them talking about how we are to show that we are true Christ followers in how we live our lives at work and at home. Work takes up half of our waking hours each week. Our home life constitutes a major portion of the other half of our lives. Before we move on from vv. 16-17 in this passage, we must talk about how we demonstrate our faith in Christ in front of our friends, neighbors and strangers – the “play” part of our church slogan, “Missionaries where we live, work, and play.” Jesus tells us in these verses, “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed.” The question then becomes, how do you hold yourself out, how do I hold myself out, in front of these sets of people.

Rick Warren in his teaching series, “Transformed” says that many of us check our faith at the door when we go to work, meaning that we do not let our light shine at work. The Christian character that we espouse at church on Sundays is often not who we are at work. I think that Rick’s statement can be expanded to how we act with our neighbors, friends, and complete strangers.

When we are with our friends, do we hide the fact that we are Christian when we are with them? Do we think that they will ridicule us for demonstrating Christian values? Do you think they will make fun of you if you don’t go the strip club with them? Do you think that they will ridicule you for not hitting on women when you are on a guys night out? Are you afraid that you will lose your friends if you don’t go along with things that are immoral or unethical? If we are hiding our light, how will they know that we are Christians? It is one thing to engage the culture around us so that it gives us the opportunity to speak of Christ and we do so. It is another to compromise your values just be accepted into the culture. We should be recognizable as Christians to our friends. We should be that guy that demonstrates integrity and high moral values. We should be the ones that say hey guys this is all well and good if your are single, but I do honor my marriage and I love my wife. Maybe by how we act in front of our guy buddies is our way to witness to them, the way to shine the light of Jesus in front of them. Maybe, the way you are different from everyone of your circle of friends draws them to Christ. As Elena and I say about our community events that our church puts on annually, if we don’t make these events about sharing the gospel, well … then … we are just party planners? In some cases, with our friends, we may be the only Christ that they ever encounter. Let’s make it count with our friends. Let’s not hide our light. Let’s put our lampstand where it can be seen!

How are you around your neighbors and complete strangers? In our society of big screen TVs, video games, video streaming, hand held entertainment devices, and many other things to entertain us as home, neighbors and strangers can be one and the same person so I will talk about this people group as one. When people cut you off on the highway, do you chase them down and give them all the four letter words you can think of? Do you have disputes with your neighbors over things that don’t really matter like your tree limbs are hanging over my property and so on? Do you bless out your neighbor when that neighbor has friends over and they accidently park on part of your property? Do you even talk to your neighbors? Do you neighbors even suspect that you are a Christian who is under command from Jesus to take the gospel to the world around us? Do you abuse and belittle people that are serving you such as waitresses, store clerks, customer service reps on the phone, etc.? Surely there is a place for righteous anger for poor service that is given intentionally. However, do you not try to understand the reason service is bad? Have you ever engaged those who serve you and offer to pray for them? When some store clerk gives you too much change, do you take it back to him or her. Sometimes, we are the only Christ that these complete strangers will ever see? What do your and my actions when these people who are not critical to our lives encounter say about what and who we are? Do you care? Do you care about their souls? That’s right, we may be the only contact that our strangers and neighbors ever have with Jesus Christ. Let’s not be one way with people that are critical to our lives and another with those who do not have any direct impact on our lives? How Christian is that? Souls could be in the balance? Do you ever think about all the potential Jesus encounters we miss daily, weekly, monthly, annually? God has us living where we live for a reason. God has us encounter complete strangers for a reason. Let our lives speak of Christ. Let our words draw people unto Him. Let our actions demonstrate who He is.

Being a Christian is a 24/7/365 job. It is not just who we are when we are at church or with church friends. It is who we are all the time. Let your light shine in every “room” of your life – where you live, work, and play.

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