“. . . Those who do what is true come to the light, so taht it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” John 3:21
The gospel of John talks about light a lot. In the prologue which is John 1:1-15, the writer of the gospel says that the Light came into the world, meaning Jesus who is the logos or “word” of God. Jesus tells his followers (including us) that we are the light of the world. When we think of Jesus as the Light, we think of him lighting the way, leading us forward, helping us to live in God’s ways. Jesus opens our hearts, minds, and souls to receive the love of God and to share it with others.
That means that we live differently in a world where we are often told that “looking out for number one” is the most important thing. The world would tell us that it’s all about what we can get for ourselves, to put ourselves first, to get as much as we can so we are important, special, rich. I once heard a pastor talk about the “lie” of the lottery. He said that it made people think that they were special, that they were important, that they now had power because of their wealth. He went on to say that of the previous ten winners of the mega-million dollar lottery in that state, only one still had their phone number listed in the phone book.
The “lie” of the lottery is that we don’t need it to be important, special, or rich. We are already important – to God. We are already special – to God (and probably a lot of other people). We are already rich, not in money necessarily but in love and friends and family. God lights the way to life, love, and happiness, and that is something that is too good to hold onto for ourselves. It is intended to be shared. So when we receive the light from God in Christ Jesus, our next step is to share it.
Interestingly, it isn’t always easy to share it because, as I mentioned, the world tells us that being self-less and self-giving isn’t the way we get ahead in this world. It seems to me that we actually CAN get ahead, though. In spite of those who feel they are getting ahead by being in positions of power and having a lot of money, somewhere along the line they fall. Maybe they fall when the discover that their family has moved ahead without them, that they begin offering little “white lies” that eventually lead into a lot of dishonesty, that they are unkind to their employees, that they lose prestige in their social circles, or whatever the circumstance may be. Regardless, something usually happens to bring them to a new and sometimes “lower” level than where they were before.
When we consistently are kind, compassionate, caring, and giving, it DOES come back to us. The saying “nice guys (gals) finish last” is based on social pressure to conform to the world’s standards. In the long run, those who walk in the light of Christ and who become the ones who live that light in the world are the ones who are loved by many, who are admired and emulated for the long term, and who are richer beyond imagination. My dad always used to say, “I may not be rich in cash, but I sure am rich in family and friends.”
May the Light of the world – Jesus, the Christ – shine through our words and deeds today and every day! Amen!