“You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”
We were doing street ministry in Detroit the other day when a lady we were ministering to made an observation. She said you could tell that the neighborhood was no good because there were no Christmas lights. As we walked around we noticed that she was right about at least one part of her statement: there were no Christmas lights. Now there are a lot of reasons for this. For many of the residents in some of the most hurting neighborhoods, buying Christmas presents is at the bottom of their to-do list. They have a lot of other things they are trying to afford just to survive and, although they may love to get presents for their family, if it doesn’t happen the world will still go on. So making sure that they purchase and put up Christmas lights is somewhere near the very,very bottom of their priority list. This got us thinking about how easy it is to truly win over these neighborhoods for Christ. What’s the key? Letting your light shine!
Here is what we mean.
As a Christian you have been taught to put others before yourself. You have been exhorted to grow in love, patience and kindness. It is part of your training manual to forgive and to pray for your enemies. These are all very foreign attitudes in a broken and fallen world. These are foreign in the streets especially and when that light is exhibited through us it attracts. Period.
For example: one day we saw a lady on her porch. We asked how she was doing and she said she was okay. We asked what she was doing and she said she was waiting for her Little Caesar’s Pizza. She had given her $8 to someone to get it 3 hours ago and not only had they not come back with it, they weren’t answering her phone calls or texts and she was getting hungry and a little upset. So we went down the street and got a pizza and came back with it. It shocked her. No one does that kind of thing. Not in that neighborhood. Or what about this: one day we had a pair of Nikes that were given to us by a partner of the ministry. They weren’t new but they were gently used. When we noticed the size we remembered a man from the neighborhood who had been looking for some shoes about that size. So we gave them to him. He was shocked. Except for his mother, no one looks out for him. He has had to look out for himself since he was a teenager.
In both cases, just an act of love towards people who were not expecting it and had no reason to think anyone was thinking about them turned their hearts toward us. In reality it turned their hearts towards the Light shining through us. It can be easy to shine if you are mindful of it. Sending a text to a neighbor that you prayed for them today shines that light. Offering to look after someone’s children while they go grocery shopping shines that light. Picking up someone else’s trash on your way into the grocery store shines it. Greeting the world with a smile shines it. And when the world turns to find out the source of the Light in us, we have the opening we need to lead them to Jesus.
Our challenge to you is this: Where can you shine? How can you let your light shine? Who is the Lord calling you to shine to? When you start figuring the answers to these questions out then get to shining off
With love from the streets,