Always abounding with God's light
Today we will be conclude John Wesley’s fourth discourse on the Sermon on the Mount looking at the final section of the discourse where John Wesley describes how we are the light from Matthew 5:13-16 . If you want to read the full discourse it is found here: Upon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount IV
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works:" -- So far let a Christian be from ever designing or desiring to conceal his religion! On the contrary, let it be your desire, not to conceal it; not to put the light under a bushel. Let it be your care to place it "on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house." Only take heed, not to seek your own praise herein, not to desire any honour to yourselves. But let it be your sole aim, that all who see your good works may "glorify your Father which is in heaven." (IV.2)
Wesley concludes his sermon by reminding us that our light, good works, and our salt, our presence, is to glorify God. We should therefore not shy away from talking about how our faith in Jesus has inspired us to participate in a ministry or help someone in need….as long as we remember that it’s about God. If we began to direct the praise towards ourselves or if we share because we want to impress others then we are no longer the light of Christ. We become a light to ourselves. Both individuals and churches need to remember that our ministry and mission is not to grow the church or grow our faith but is rather our response to the glory and love of Christ we experience. Our ministry, mission, faith and life reflect the light of Christ so others will choose to follow Jesus.
With this one design, that men may glorify God in you, go on in his name, and in the power of his might. Be not ashamed even to stand alone, so it be in the ways of God. Let the light which is in your heart shine in all good works both works of piety and works of mercy. And in order to enlarge your ability of doing good, renounce all superfluities. Cut off all unnecessary expense in food, in furniture, in apparel. Be a good steward of every gift of God, even of these his lowest gifts. Cut off all unnecessary expense of time, all needless or useless employments; and "whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." In a word, be thou full of faith and love; do good; suffer evil. And herein be thou "steadfast, unmovable;" yea, "always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as thou knowest that thy labour is not in vain in the Lord." (IV.4)
Wesley’s closing paragraph is a good one to hear as we head into the Christmas season. In order for us to be the salt and light of Christ we need to be good stewards of the resources we have. Wesley encourages us to glorify God in all our life, even in the small areas or the “lowest gifts”. As we move toward Christmas I encourage you to look at how you use your gifts from God: Time, energy, and money. Are there spending changes you can make to allow you to support a charity or cause this Christmas? Is there an activity you can take a break from to free up time for volunteering and fellowship? Whether it is a large change or a small one, I invite you to “enlarge your ability of doing good” this Christmas season so that through your good works the light of Christ will shine to others.