14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
15 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.
16 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 (NLT)
In the previous article, we have found out what it means to be the salt of the earth. Our role as salt is to preserve the world and keep the people alive as long as we can in order to buy time for them to get to know Jesus. It is a defensive role. Salt can only keep food from decaying. It cannot make the food to be fresher.
This time, we are going for the offensive. Jesus called us to be the light of the world. Light cannot be hidden. Light does not stay still. If you are a light, you cannot help but shine. Shining is your nature. This is why Jesus said a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. The moment we have received Jesus into your heart, we are on higher ground. We are like a city on a hill. Our role is to shine.
Does this means every Christian is shining? The answer is no. In Verse 15, Jesus tells us that not all lamps are place on the lamp stand. However some lamps are under baskets. What exactly are baskets in this case? In this scenario, the baskets are outside the lamp. They are not a part of the lamp. It represents our external environment. You are effectively covering your lamp under the basket when you allow the negative situation around you to occupy your mind.
As Christians, we may be in the world but we are not of the world. We may be in the midst of a recession, plague or any other bad situation, but we do not have to let them get into our minds. No matter how bad the situation appears to be, our rightful place is the lamp stand. The lamp stand represents our faith. We choose to believe that God wants us rich even if we are in the midst of a recession. We choose to believe that God wants us healthy even if we are in the middle of a plague. We choose to believe that God wants us to be successful even if we are in the pit of failure. We are lamps on the lamp stands.
The moment you let go of your faith and dwell in negative thoughts, you are effectively having a basket over you. You will be no different from the rest of the world. This is not God’s will for you.
Our roles as the light of the world means we are to shine so brightly that we bring light to the people around us.
What does shining means? Jesus answered that in Verse 16. We shine through our good deeds. Our good deeds must be so obvious that everyone can see them. They will be so impressed that they will even praise our heavenly Father. Who are these people who sees our good deeds and praise our heavenly Father? Jesus used the term “everyone”. This means all people, Christians and non-Christians alike.
What type of good deeds? In order for people who are not Christians to be impressed by them, our deeds must be physical. They must be clear, can be seen, heard, touched and proven. Jesus cannot be referring to some religious rituals, praying, fasting, reading the Bible or anything that the world does not care.
Therefore, the good deeds that we are supposed to shine through must be about extending prosperity to the people around us. There is no other alternative answer. Christians are called by God to extend prosperity to the people around us. This means, we are to help people to get rich, healed and achieve success in the areas they want to be successful in. Please note the definition of “good deeds” is based on the desire of the world and the world does not believe in the Vow Of Poverty. We do not impress them into praising our heavenly Father by helping them to be poor and sick. We impress them into praising our heavenly Father by helping them to be rich and healthy.
In order to do that, we have to be rich, healthy and successful in our chosen area as well. This is the same requirement for being the salt of the earth. The only difference is, as the light, we go for the offensive. Instead of helping the poor to stay alive, we help them to get rich. Instead of providing food for those who are starving, we help them to produce their own food. Instead of helping the sick to stay alive and suffer less, we help them to get rid of their disease once for all. This is offensive.
Jesus called us to be the light of the world. Are you in? As for me and my household, we are.