Let Your Light Shine
What we do to fit in with the people around us! God has designed people to seek connections with other people and by no means desires that we live alone. However, we often take God’s wishes to the extreme and try to change who we are in order to fit in. Few people enjoy the sensation of standing out in a crowd. We do everything we can to blend in, to become like everyone else. Yet, God calls us to do exactly the opposite. Matthew 5:16 (NRSV) says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” We are called to let our light shine for Christ in ways that distinguish us from the rest of humanity. We are called to stand out, not to fit in. Even if it involves discomfort and fear, standing out for Christ also leads to a life of meaning and purpose.
Rebekah Gardea [San Antonio, TX]
Stand Up for God
Looking back at history, we don’t remember those who fit in. We don’t remember the thousands of Nazis who followed orders, but we know stories from the resistance. We don’t remember the people who accepted slavery as an unchangeable way of life, but we learn about abolitionists. Memories of ordinary people fade; but we remember those who went against the crowd, stood up for their beliefs, and made a change.
As Christians, fitting into a world with values so different from our own is impossible. Each day we fight to resist the temptations of a world living in darkness. But Christ also calls us to change the world. We cannot be like the millions of forgotten crowd-pleasers. Our generation is called to be bold, to stand up for God, to help bring God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.
Taylor Gerlach [Matthews, NC]
APRIL 23, 2017
NEXT DAY STRETCH
Change Your World
Growing up, I thought that a world changer was someone who stepped out and took on the whole world at once in order to make a difference. I believed missionaries sold everything they had, jumped on a plane to a foreign land, and never came home. As time went on, I realized that Christians find a variety of ways to change the world. Jesus commands us, in Matthew 25:35–36, to feed the hungry, care for the sick, welcome strangers, and visit those in prison. These acts may seem small, but we cannot deny that they are world changers. Jesus says, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40, NRSV). What better way to make a change in our world than by shining Christ’s light through our acts of kindness for those who need it most?
You may be called to step out and do something huge to change the world, to witness to people halfway around the planet, or to meet the needs of people right down the street. Remember: We were all created to change the world for someone, to serve someone, to love as Jesus loves, and to spread the light of Christ across our mission field, wherever it is. All you need is a yes! in your heart for God and God’s people, and you can change the world. What are you waiting for?
Kamilah Asafa [Ashland, KY]