Shine!

Driving along Lake St. Claire's Michigan shoreline, we saw a column of fire flash red and orange on the Canadian side. "Look at that!" my daughter exclaimed. "Major fire over there!" As we watched, we decided it was, instead, a reflection of the setting sun on a tall glass-fronted building. Reflected light can be as brilliant as the original fire, only in smaller proportion.

At my home in Oregon, I hang crystals, Pollyanna-fashion, in my kitchen window to enjoy the beauty of the brilliant colors they make on the wall. "Make the rainbows dance, Grandma!" the grandchildren beg. I take a wooden spoon, reach into the recesses of the plant window over the sink and touch the crystals. Suddenly, rainbows cavort on the white cupboards across the room. The grandchildren dance, too, shrieking with delight at the reds, greens, yellows, and blues that play about the room. They enjoy reflected and refracted light.

The writer to the Hebrews declared Jesus as "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being" (Hebrews 1:3, NIV). Just as my crystals in Oregon and the building across Lake St. Claire showed us what the sun was like, Jesus represented God, His Father, reflecting His glory and brilliance in the earth.

Those who have accepted Christ as their Savior are mirrors of Christ to the world.

We should reflect Christ, His goodness, patience, grace, forgiveness, and love. Many times, though, we err; the image of Christ is distorted, like throwing a stone into a mirrored lake shatters the reflected sun.

If we continue to deliberately disobey God's instructions in His Word (James 1:23–25), Christ's reflection dims in our own spirits and in our portrayal of Him that we present to the world. We cease to sense His presence and quench the reflection of Him to others.

Isaiah challenged disobedient Israel: "'Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn'" (Isaiah 60:1–3, NIV).

How well am I reflecting Christ in my sphere of influence? Am I radiating Jesus in my home and workplace, or is Christ's brightness dulled by my crankiness, pettiness, dishonesty, or unholy language? Is the light of Christ shining through me?

I can reflect Christ through holy living and a cheerful attitude. Retirees who were active in the Lord's work for a lifetime often feel like "has-beens" once their active ministry is finished. However, the glass-fronted building did nothing but stand; its reflecting still reached an audience.

We hesitate, these days, to involve ourselves in others' problems, but people need us to shine God's love brightly. When we hug the cranky secretary at the office, take a meal to an unbeliever who is ill, or stop on a rainy night to help a lady change her flat tire, and leave a word from the Lord, we bless them with the light of God's love.

Matthew 5:16 urges believers: "'Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven'" (NIV). Jesus said that in the last days "the righteous will shine like the sun" (Matthew 13:43). In today's darkness, how well am I shining God's radiance to a sin-sick world?

By: Sylvia Stewart