“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, N.K.J.V.)
Presbyterian minister Harry Rimmer told the story of a young man who entered the army. This young man was in the habit of studying his Bible in his bedroom each evening and then kneeling down to pray before retiring for the night. He knew, however, that the army barracks would be a real test of that nightly routine.
Unfortunately, the barracks held true to their reputation as the young man found himself surrounded by scores of rough soldiers. The soldiers joked around, made crude comments, and cursed. Concerned about drawing their ire, the young man’s first instinct was to read his Bible by keeping it half covered under his blanket. But the more he considered that option, the more conviction came over him. He thought, “I’m a Christian! I should take my stand for the Lord. I shouldn’t hide my faith. I should do as I did at home.” So he boldly opened his Bible that first night, read a chapter, and knelt down to pray quietly beside his cot.
When the other men noticed what the young man was doing, a few of them sneered. In just a few minutes, however, the barracks became strangely quiet as the soldiers who respected the new recruit’s devotion hushed those who were sneering. After a while, all the soldiers began to talk among themselves again, but this time their conversations didn’t include any crudeness or cursing.
The next night, when the young man opened his Bible, eight other men dug out theirs and did the same. Within a month, every soldier in the outfit respected the young Christian so much that they would defend him against anyone who dared criticize him. Even more than that, they started bringing their troubles to him and seeking his counsel. Rimmer concluded the story by saying, “That young man influenced more men for Christ than half a dozen chaplains could have in a year of Sundays.”
The world can be a rough, course, vulgar place, and being a Christian who tries to live a holy life in its midst can be difficult. Do the people at your workplace tell dirty jokes? Do some of your fellow students use profanity? Do you feel like you would be mocked and ridiculed if you were caught on site reading your Bible or praying? Well, welcome to your army barracks.
What would Jesus have you do? The answer is found in the example He set. He didn’t isolate Himself in a cave atop a mountain and shun the “real” world. He didn’t limit His dealings to people who thought and spoke like He did. He didn’t act one way in private but another way in public. What He did was live what He preached. And what did He preach? He told His followers to resist the urge to hide their light under a basket and let it, instead, shine before men.
Therefore, Christian, please take this post as your call to arms to stop hiding your light under a basket. Seriously, you have no idea how much those around you need to see your light burning brightly for your Savior. Who knows what domino effect you taking a stand for holiness might start? It might just be that there are others in your setting who are just as offended with certain things as you are. They just need a leader to show them how to express it. And that leader can be you!