The Anatomy of the Light of the World

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14

Light! It has captured the curiosity of scientists, philosophers, theologians—and common people like you and me. The scientific community continues to make new discoveries about the properties and activities of light. Light is generally defined by its speed, photons traveling 299,792,458 meters per second. These photons are tiny bundles of energy whose presence, number, and movement create what we call visible light.

What’s true for photons is also true for Jesus’ disciples. As disciples we can’t ignore the persistent urge that we are to get moving, doing useful things in life. In fact, most of the New Testament is devoted to giving instructions. Our faith is not primarily a way of thinking but a way of living. Faith is not something we have; it’s something we do.

Most light is not visible to us. Across the vast spectrum of physical light, from plasma oscillations to gamma rays, the human eye can see only a sliver in the middle. The light to which Jesus refers is practical, common, everyday kind of light—the kind of light that anyone can see, including those who don’t share our Christian faith. And you know the kind of light I’m talking about: everyday acts of mercy, compassion, service, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, love, and on and on.

We are created to illuminate the world around us, from great cities draped over hilltops to tiny houses with a single lamp stand mounted in the wall. It’s God’s light, but he gives it to us and invites us to get moving so others can see God.

The first great challenge in exploring the ancient pyramids was getting light inside. No electric power or batteries were available, and torches created choking clouds of smoke. So someone came up with the idea of placing large mirrors at strategic bends in the labyrinth of interior corridors to capture the sun and reflect it deep inside to show the way and reveal treasures.

So get moving. Shine up your mirror, aim it toward God’s light, and let it chase away some darkness.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Who has reflected God’s light into your life. What did they do? List some of the qualities about God that get you excited. What should you keep in mind when shining God’s light into darkness?

PRAYER: Lord God, Light of the world, thank you for illuminating my life. Your Light chases away corruptions that hide in my darkness. Your Light is a beacon of hope. Your Light is a guide along my way. I humbly ask that you help me know who and how and when to shine your Light in the part of the world where I live today. Amen.


Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren. Send a note to Dave.

Paying Well

After we published a week of content with the theme heading Making Money, we received a message encouraging us to consider the flip side, as well. What about Christians who fail to pay well, who complain about leaving a tip or who balk at paying an honest rate, especially when doing business with other Christians? What does the Bible have to say about this, and what is fair to expect when doing business with Christians and non-Christians alike? Is there a difference? Should there be? What has been your experience? Join us for the series, Paying Well, as we consider personal stories and biblical instruction for leading well as Christians in the world, especially when it comes to determining what to pay.

Featured image by Marty Hadding. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.