Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lent '09 - Day 33: Light shine from the community

When Jesus taught his followers and the multitudes in Matthew 5-7, he pretty early on makes it clear that their purpose is to be the same as the one bestowed on the Israelites. They're to be salt and light to all nations. When you mission is to light the world, you better make sure light is being emitted. In addition, you don't cover your light. To do so would be to reject your purpose.

Jesus makes it clear that we're to let our light shine before others. Soon afterward though, he cautions us not do our works for others to be seen by men. This conflict drives to a core issue in this sermon from Christ: that our hearts and character matter. Our good works are to be seen by men, not for man's credit, reward, or recognition, but so that "they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

In terms of letting the world see the light instilled within us, I feel much more comfortable with this occurring in the context of community. For example, it's a lot easier to say, our church is giving abundantly to the needy in our community, than to say we are giving abundantly to the needy in our community. I would much rather swell with pride in my community than in myself, as it enables heart to stay pure.

Do you think this line of thinking is legit? What are the drawbacks of boosting church's reputation? Will God receive more glory if people know of the good work that his church does rather than the good work of individual children?

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