by Steve DuPlessie
I used to think that if I led by example, just doing what needed to be done, what should be done, then others would notice that, they’d get it and they’d praise God. And maybe they’d even follow my example.
So after many years of trying that strategy, I’ve finally got to admit … it doesn’t work. Some people notice the good example; but actually most don’t. Of those who do notice, many then dismiss it: “Hey, that’s great he did that; but that’s not for me.”
Others notice and actually follow my example, but they don’t know … why. They don’t know why I do what I do. Because I never gave them an explanation. Example without explanation is usually ineffective. I’ve got to seize the opportunity to not just demonstrate what followers of Jesus do, but I need to explain the Why, why I do what I do.
Ok, so I’ve been volunteering as a classroom aide for an hour and a half every Tuesday morning in Mrs. B’s Kindergarten classroom at Studley School for the last 10 years. And I assumed that was effective “Light;” you know, good works that will glorify my Father in heaven.
Guess what? Nope. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. If anything, people see that and say, “Hey, isn’t he a good guy to help out the kids like that.” Or, if they actually know me, they might think “He must be doing court-assigned community service hours for some bad driving charges!” And God doesn’t get the glory because … I never told anyone Why I volunteer.
Jesus said, “You are (not Should be, or Might be) you are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. (People are watching you!) No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father,” [Matthew 5:14-16]
So do you glow in the dark? Can people see you shining? Are there some good works happening that people can see? Do they know why? Why you serve meals at City Supper? Do they know why you take in foster children? Do they know why you volunteer to coach volleyball? Do they know why you baby sit your neighbor’s kids? Do they know why you care for that senior citizen who has no family around to help them?
Have you ever told them, “I do this because I’m a follower of Jesus, and he told us to love our neighbors.” “I do this because I love Jesus and he told his followers to care for the least of these.” “I do this because I want to bring the love and grace of God to people who really need it like I do.” Be a light, and give them the Why.
So it’s not just, “Does your light shine?” It’s “Do you glow in the dark so that they see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven?”