I welcome you to read Kristen’s post to encourage your heart.
Matthew 5:14, The Voice Bible
And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden.
It’s a hard balance, isn’t it? Living in this world without living like the world? If we isolate ourselves too much, we lose our credibility. If we immerse ourselves into the culture, we battle the allure and pull it has. So, often we pull back while peering in. We live open to being a witness but struggling with how to really be one.
Last year I taught a series on extraordinary kindness and what it looks like to step out of our comfort zones to serve the people who cross our path. As an introvert, it isn’t easy for me to put myself out there, talking to strangers and engaging neighbors. I’m not too into the state of the weather or how the flowers are blooming. I want to get my mail and get inside. But something marvelous started to happen when I allowed myself to slow down and really become a neighbor to everyone I met.
Over the last year I’ve helped strangers load things into their cars in the IKEA parking lot, learned the names of the local shops and marketplace staff, helped an elderly woman move, heard up close stories of serious brokenness from strangers, had people tell me what breaks their heart without my even having to ask. For an introvert like me? This is huge.
Between us girls? This could only be Jesus.
In Matthew 5:14 Jesus says, “And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden.” (The Voice Bible) I think He means it!
Do you know, beloved, that you are a light for the world? You are a need meeter wherever you live. You are equipped with the very something your community is longing for. In your neighborhood right now there are people with hard questions and devastating stories. They are searching for something more, maybe in all the wrong places, but searching nonetheless. You may be the only person they come in contact with who is willing to share the hope you have.
Your story is unique for a reason. This is not chance. Every day of your life has been leading to today. Your story has been building, adding chapters and sentences and paragraphs, that have been preparing you for now.
May I gently ask, when is the last time you met a need you hadn’t scheduled into your week? I’m ashamed to admit before this last year, I didn’t run into many unscheduled needs. But lately I do. Lately I see need all around me. Lately people are asking me to explain something the Bible says that they just don’t understand. Lately I’m noticing the mom counting quarters to pay for her groceries. Lately people who have had no interest in the things of God for years are suddenly asking about Bible study.
My husband and I were at a restaurant last week and the waiter asked how we were. So I turned to him and asked, “How are you today?” And do you know it stopped him in his tracks? He said it threw him off guard because he rarely gets asked how he is by patrons of this restaurant. We ended up talking to him for quite a bit that day, learning that he had just gotten out of the military, was figuring out what to do next. He was such a nice guy and he is searching. Hearing his story connected us with his need. I’m praying Jesus meets him where he is and rocks his life with goodness and grace.
This is a simple fix, friends. We are the people of God and Jesus says this makes us a light to the world.
What is the reason for the hope you have? Are you ready to share it? Are you engaging the people you come across in such a way that they leave you wondering about this Jesus? Do you utilize social media in a way that is both relevant and grace-filled? Do you oppose more than you offer? These can be hard questions, but I hope we ask them anyway.
Because we’re not going to hide the city we live in anymore. People are starting to wonder about it. They are walking out into the streets and looking up at the city on the hill. The lights in our windows are beckoning them to come.
My prayer today is that we will welcome them at the city gates with songs of redemption and hope.
May our lives and our homes be welcoming places for the weary. May we share more openly, engage more readily, and point to Jesus more steadily.
Beloved, step up into your calling and shine like a star across the land. (Philippians 2:14-16)
Kristen Schiffman is a Bible study writer and teacher who loves chai lattes and blank pages. She’s served on staff at multiple women’s ministries and is the co-founder of The Dinner Table Collective (set to launch in early 2015). You can find her online at KristenSchiffman.me and The Dinner Table Collective.