Let Your Light Shine

Matthew 5:14-19

For a few minutes this morning, letís think about a couple things. First of all, what do we have if we walk away from fellowship with other Believers? And secondly, what do we have if we walk away from fellowship with friends and loved ones?

There are those who mistakenly think we do not need church nor do we need the fellowship of other Believers, friends, and loved ones. But we do! We need the fellowship of one another. The Scriptures and the teaching of the Fathers offer instruction and guidance for living successfully in our modern world.

Let's look at Matthew 5:16. "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven."

Here is a story I read recently, "A member of a certain church, who had been attending services regularly for quite some time, all of sudden stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to pay the man a visit. It was a very cold evening and when the pastor arrived at the man's home he found him sitting alone before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed the pastor and led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace. The man then sat down in his chair and waited for the pastor to speak. Settling himself in the chair, the pastor said nothing. In silence, he contemplated the flames dancing around the burning logs. Several minutes passed. Then, the pastor took a pair of fire tongs and carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it on one side of the hearth -- all alone.

Again, the pastor settled silently in his chair. Without a word, the man watched. Before long, the one lone ember flickered and then with a final momentary glow, the flame went out. Soon the ember lay cold and dead on the hearth. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Glancing at his watch, the pastor realized it was time to leave. Slowly he stood up, taking hold of the fire tongs picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately, it began to glow with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

At the door, the host clasped the pastorís hand. With tears coursing down his cheeks, the host said, "Thank you, thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon! I will be back in church next Sunday."

We live in a world today where, too often, people try to say too much with too little substance or worth -- or say too little with too many words. Often, the end result is that no one listens. There are times when the best sermon is the one left unspoken.

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven." Let your light shine before men! What a profound statement! Dear brothers and sisters, let YOUR light shine so people may see God in YOU ... and in all you do!

What silent message would God have you share with someone today?

The illustration I just read tells us that separating oneself from the fellowship of other Believers causes life to die out just like the ember taken from the fire. Alone, we can do nothing! Together, we can move mountains!

When our fire goes out, not only do we stop giving to others -- we stop giving to ourselves.

When our fire goes out, we also stop giving to God. We cannot glorify God when our light lies cold and dead like the lone ember.

In the days of the ancient desert fathers and mothers of our Faith, two monks -- an elder and his young disciple -- left their hermitage in the Egyptian desert to go to the big city of Alexandria to preach. They walked about the city. They bought some provisions in the marketplace. They ate a little something. And they walked about some more.

Finally, the elder said to the younger monk, "Well, let's go back to our cells now." The young disciple said, "But weren't we going to preach?"

And the elder said, "We already preached -- all day long -- by how we walked, how we spoke."

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven." Let us pray:

Our loving Father, we pray that our light may always shine brightly for You. We ask for humble courage to pick up the cold dying ember of our lives and toss it back onto the fire -- joining together with our brothers and sisters in Christ -- allowing for the love and witness of Your Holy Spirit to shine from us as a faithful silent testimony of Your Presence within.

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