When I was about 8 years old my family and I were living in Illinois, USA. Growing up, one weekend each month, my parents would arrange a family outing. I vividly remember the time we went to Hannibal, Missouri where Mark Twain grew up, and where his stories of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were inspired. We took a guided tour inside a cave reported as the very cave where Injun’ Joe met his fate falling down a hole rurmored to be a bottomless pit. You can imagine how this captured all our imaginations.
As the guide led us around the hole, he told us to be very still because he would turn out the light so we could experience what it had been like in that cave during the times of Huckleberry and Tom. I felt my Dad’s arms going around the shoulder’s of me and my sister. The lights went out. Slowly I raised my hand to my face. I couldn’t see one thing. It was utter darkness. Then the guide struck a match. Suddenly, just from that little flame, we could make out dark images and outlines of all the people in our group. It was a relief when the lights were turned on again.
I’ve never forgotten that experience. It especially comes to mind whenever I come upon the verse in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” I have met people over the years who suffer a low self-esteem. They feel they have nothing to offer. Perhaps they have failed over and over again. Why would God use them, they wonder. Does that describe anyone reading this?
Do you know it’s the enemy, Satan, who schemes to keep you feeling like a nothing? Do you know it’s Jesus who so loved you, counting you as a valued treasure, that He died in your place, not only to pay the punishment of your sins, but to make you brand new all over? In the eyes of God you are most precious indeed. Sure, you still make mistakes; we all do, but never forget, with every step you take, focusing on Jesus and His ways, you’re taking on the family resemblance a little more each day.
It was Jesus Himself who spoke those words about letting your light shine in Matthew 5:16. When you have the Holy Spirit within, at first, as a baby Christian, you may only have a match stick of light to shine, but oh, how it can light the way. Those around you in utter darkness can see the truth of Jesus when you strike your match stick. Go ahead, let your light shine, and show someone that Jesus is indeed, “the way, the truth, and the life,” and no one comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6).
When you strike your matchstick, desiring to honor Jesus, your light will grow stronger and brighter, bringing great joy to yourself and giving hope to someone still in darkness.