This Little Light Of Mine
“No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lamp stand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 4: 15-16
Think of your top five flaws. Now think of your five best qualities. Which list was easier to come up with? If you’re like me, it was probably the list of flaws. Where did we get the idea that being humble meant being a shrinking violet or thinking negative things about ourselves?
Jesus tells us we’re supposed to let our light shine so that others will see it. But isn’t that being a conceited show-off? Not if we look at the rest of the passage.
First, Jesus says no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl. We have a light to shine not because we created it ourselves, but because God “lit” us with His light. We all have talents and skills, but those are gifts from God. We are not being conceited if we use the abilities He gave us. Hiding the gifts God gave us in the name of humility is counter-productive.
Second, we are right where we need to be to let our light shine. Whatever “lamp stand” we have been put on—whatever our present circumstances—we are right where God wanted our particular light to serve His purpose.
Finally, what is that purpose? Not to impress others with our inflated egos, but to “praise [our] Father in heaven.” St. Francis said to preach the Gospel always and if you have to, use words. What we do coveys a powerful message. We can share the Good News about God by using our gifts. We can appreciate our gifts in healthy humility by gratefully acknowledging the Giver. We can help others by letting our light shine in the here and now.
Prayer: Lord, show me my gifts and how you want me to use them today.
Reflection for sharing: How am I hiding the light within me? What can I do today to let it shine?