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I am asking this again...

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14, 16)

I like how Jesus wasn't afraid to break it down for his disciples. It gives me hope when I have to admit to God that I don't understand a particular lesson he is teaching me. The truth is that if these disciples who were right there at the feet of Jesus when he was teaching them face-to-face in real-time presence were struggling to 'get' some of the truths Jesus was sharing with them, then why will it be any different for us? We are sometimes a little too obtuse and at others we are just a little to stubborn to 'get' what we are being taught. Jesus never faults us for asking him to break it down a bit for us - so we get it in bite-sized chunks that we can actually digest!

The disciples didn't understand their role in being the ones who would establish the first century church, carrying the gospel message of Christ to all the world. They didn't really appreciate the fact that Jesus had to die for the sins of the world - that he'd leave them to share the message of hope he was about to make possible for all who would believe. This didn't stop Jesus from re-teaching the truth - putting it 'another way' so maybe they'd get a glimpse of the truth. They were being made 'light-bearers' - to share the hope of salvation through Christ and him alone. Would they always be understood? No, but he was 'setting them on a hill' - making them 'shine' through the actions of their lives.

This is why he instructs them to keep an open house - to be generous with their lives. That generosity and openness to welcome those who needed shelter and protection was one way of showing how generous and welcoming our God in heaven is to us. By opening up to others - you prompt others to open up to the God they see in you. The God that forgave your sins, restored your life, regenerated your mind, and fills your heart with all things good and gracious. There is no greater joy than to see someone else embrace God's gracious 'welcome' into the family of God because they have seen something of God's light in you.

We are all lights set on a stand - placed high - beckoning in the wayward, lost, hungry, and hurting - much like a lighthouse welcomes the ships into safe harbor. We don't have to shout it from the mountaintops, but we merely live as graciously and kindly as we are able to through the grace God has shown to us. Don't be afraid to ask God to show you ways to 'keep an open house' so that others can see this grace revealed through you. When you don't understand the lesson - ask again for understanding. Ask God to put it another way. That lesson may be the very thing that brightens that light and welcomes yet another sinner into the gracious presence of Christ through you! Just sayin!

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