A few weeks ago, I decided to start studying the Gospels for my scripture study, and earlier this week, I started the Sermon on the Mount. Then I came across Matt. 5:16:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
This is a scripture I’ve commonly heard, particularly as a youth growing up in the church. I had always given it a superficial treatment. But when I was reading it this week, I gained a few insights I hadn’t considered before.
Take the phrase “so shine”, for example. That phrasing suggests that the way to let our light shine had been previously mentioned. Let’s look at the previous two verses:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
I believe the latter half of the quote indicates the method by which we let our light so shine: on a candlestick. We don’t hide the light we have; we bring it into the open and share it, or—more specifically—we give it away.
And why do we let our light so shine? So others may see our good works and glorify God. I find the connection to our works interesting. When we share our light with others, they will notice our good works. Maybe that means that the way we let our light shine is through our good works. As we do what is right, they will see that light within is.
For some reason, I thought the end of the verse—glorifying God—was something for us to do, but I realized during this reading that this is something done by those who see our good works. In other words, we are encouraged to have works so good that they encourage those who see them to glorify God.
Is it any wonder then why Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. If we love others to the point that such love permeates our actions, speech, and even our thoughts, maybe it will prompt others to glorify God.
What do you think?