“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, 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 5:14-16
Let your light shine before others, so that they might see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Let your light shine. Just, please, I’m asking you to let it shine.
Everyone can usually pinpoint a time in his or her life when everything changed.. For me, these moments have every emotion that one can experience wrapped into a span of 30 minutes. I was standing on the shore of the river, staring up at the jungle in front of me, watching the sunrise, sand was getting glued into my rain boots, water was rushing over my feet, and emotions were taking me over..not in a way that was obvious to the group I was traveling with, but in a way that I could tell that I would never, ever be the same. I changed my view of the sky to this little boy, sitting on a boat, blowing up his balloon, and doing the same thing I was doing: taking it all in. We were leaving the villages that morning in Guatemala, leaving the jungle, going back to Guatemala City, where some stuff would be familiar. We were living in a city that was built on a hill. We were leaving the place where God’s light shined in every way that one could imagine. We were leaving a place where their lights could never be put under a bushel. We were literally living in a world for two days that is what I imagine when I read Matthew 5:14-16. There are no words to describe this place that we were leaving during that moment. We needed a shower, we needed a bed, and we needed time to debrief, to process what we experienced in these remote villages that are in every single way different from the way we lived. We needed each other, we needed to listen, and we needed to let our light shine in it’s own, unique, and wonderful way. Maybe, we even needed some silence.
All I could think about that night was this little boy. I never spoke to him, didn’t know his name, didn’t understand his story, and didn’t know what he was thinking. All I knew is that he knew what love looked like, but most importantly, felt like. He ran up and down the mountains helping the other village men carry our stuff and pack us up to leave. Keep in mind we didn’t ask them to help, they forced us to let them help because this is what love looks like: helping your neighbor any circumstance. This little boy ran up and down this mountain, laughing, screaming, hugging everyone and living in joy. He continuously helped his family, always was around other children, and was always sitting near me doing something, ready to hug me. I didn’t understand a word he said, but he communicated love. He didn’t understand a word I said, but understood that I was human, and his job was to pour out love and also receive love. He let his light shine, every single day. When he was sitting on the shore with us, one of my group members handed him a balloon, and he ran off to do his own thing, which apparently meant sitting on a boat with this bright orange balloon and watching the sunrise as the waves almost knocked him off the boat. Doing his own thing meant being a kid in God’s creation. It meant embracing the things he had been given, but not letting that change the way he behaved. He sat there with his bright orange balloon on a boat, rocking back and forth with the waves that came, staring up at the trees and sunrise, and thinking about something. I stood there, watching him with his balloon, trying to capture my last moments on film, being amazed by the sun and nature, and thinking to myself, “Wow..let your light shine kid. Continue to love and live. Continue to hug anyone, continue to love everyone..but please, just keep on shining your light.”
That night after realizing that I was never going to forget that moment, I asked myself why it impacted me to that extent. This is what I’ve come to: There are so many ways that we all let our lights shine, and oftentimes, we do not even realize it. In that moment, I was standing in the most beautiful place that I have ever been. I was standing there feeling the water and the sand, seeing the sunrise and the jungle come alive, and witnessing a small child love everything that he had been given. I was doing more than just experiencing this. I didn’t only see God’s light in the world, but I felt it. I think about all the times that God’s light goes unnoticed here because we are all too busy rushing from one thing to the next. I think about all the times that I don’t realize that the Spirit is working through me to be that light. I think about all the times in life where I’ve wondered where Jesus was, only to realize that Jesus was walking right next to me, holding my hand, and shining his light. I think about all the times where I have looked up to the sky and night and realized that God is the one that is in charge of it all. Sometimes, we get so caught up that we forget to notice that the light always shines, that God is that light, and that we need to be that light because we live in a world that continuously points out many places of darkness.
People are always doing something or hanging out with someone, and always need to see the light, just like I did that morning. So if I can tell you one thing, it’s this: Let your light shine, so that people can feel God’s love through you. Let your light shine, because you never know who needs a light in their darkness. Let your light shine, do it in a way that embraces who you are. Please..just let your light shine for the entire world to see.