“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” – Matthew 5:15
Light has a unique purpose: to show what lies underneath the cover of darkness. In this verse, Jesus is teaching the necessity of making the light he has given visible. I love the fact that Jesus did not shy away from using a practical illustration to transform hearts to truth. Jesus’ point is simple. If you are going to have a light in your home make it visible so that all can see it. Jesus says that nobody lights a lamp and then hides it under a basket. The lamp is placed on a stand. It is placed in close proximity so that all can see it. It is strategically placed where the light can have the most impact on darkness.
I think this begs us to transform our thinking regarding missional activity. For many, missionary work is just about sending money away so that others can do the hard work. Jesus never taught that. Jesus engaged and trained his disciples to always be near those who were apart from God. In fact, Jesus often ate and spent time with the most unlikely of peoples.
This is not a program that Jesus had as a part of His ministry. This was Jesus’ ministry. Jesus said that He came to “seek and save the lost”. His mission was focused and strategic. Jesus went where people lived. He spent much of His time in towns, synagogues and the town market. He attracted crowds, but then took the time to minister to them. They were tired, hungry and thirsty. Jesus met their spiritual need and ministered to them physically as well. Jesus was present with them. Jesus did not hide Himself from the world, but came and loved on it. Sadly this is not how many of His followers act today.
Many Christians are satisfied to be locked down in their holy huddles. They are content with isolating themselves from those who need God. It is safe, easy and comfortable to just be with other believers. There is a place and time for fellowship with other believers (more on that next week), but God has given us a command that we cannot disobey. The command is to GO!
The church has done a great job when she gathers. Most churches know how to worship really well. They may have a great music program, hear a good sermon and have nice facilities. The power of the church, I believe, is seen the most not when she is gathered but when she is scattered. It is when we put the light on the stand and make it visible that we will have power to impact the world with God’s light. What is the “stand” that you can place your lamp upon? Is it visible to those around you? Have you ever considered that you are a missionary?