Shine Like the Stars
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
Joann worked in the human resources department, and she often wondered if someone had put a sign on her door that read “Complain Here.” The folks in administration complained to her about their assistants taking advantage of benefits, and hourly employees argued with her when she read them company policy about sick days. Even after she left the office, Joann fielded arguments from her children about homework and chores.
I wonder if God sometimes feels as if he runs a heavenly complaint department. I, for one, am too quick to question God’s intentions when things go wrong; and too slow to thank him for a daily multitude of gifts. I complain about weather, my weight, traffic, my spouse, or my kids—instead of praising him for the rain, food in the pantry, gas in my car, and a loving family. It’s all a matter of perspective, really.
Perhaps the world would be more drawn to believers and the message of Jesus’ love if we complained less. What if nonbelievers heard us making the best of bad situations, instead of squabbling about differences in opinion? Perhaps if we daily cultivated gratitude for small gifts and made our thankfulness known, we would draw others to our positivity. In a world of badly behaving celebrities, news organizations that feed on tragedy and controversy, and political mud-slinging, we can be different. We should be different.
My dear friend Micky exemplifies this kind of Christianity. He posts positive quotes on Facebook instead of ranting about the wrongs of the world and often sends encouraging cards to people who have influenced him. He sits on several boards of local charities and never hesitates to help folks in need. Micky even spearheaded an annual community outreach in which members of many different churches perform service projects together all over the city. He exemplifies the servant spirit which Jesus modeled.
Matthew 5:16 says, "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” I pray that you and I will do just that.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: In what areas of life do you tend to complain or argue? List two or three people you know who “shine like stars.” What is it about their lives that causes you to see them that way? How could you begin to shine? Ask God to give you specific ideas.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, the world is such a dark place. I am often frightened and unsure when I look at world events. And my daily life, with all its demands and responsibilities, can be overwhelming. I tend to argue with you about your plan and complain too much about my problems. Please forgive me of those tendencies, and help me to cultivate a more grateful spirit. I thank you that Jesus, who lives in my heart, is my peace, and that you have given me the light of Christ in my heart. Thank you for placing us, your children, on this planet as lights in the darkness. I pray you will give us the courage to shine for you. Amen.
P.S. by Mark Roberts: Dena Dyer is our guest writer for the daily reflections this week. You may know Dena already from her work at The High Calling where she writes, features community articles, and demonstrates hospitality to our community on Facebook. She has published five books, including Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms. Currently, she is focusing on her family and her career as a writer and speaker, but for many years, Dena and her husband were professional musicians. She is a delightful, positive, bubbly, smiling, thoughtful Christian with practical wisdom for all of us who are trying to integrate our faith and work. I pray that her words this week will help you focus on the Lord and be in deeper relationship with him. –Mark