Recently, I was in Cincinnati for a conference. Our activities were at the Duke Energy Center where the entire west facade is a sign of 77 lights that spell out Cincinnati. The sign can be seen for miles as it adorns the skyline and has become somewhat of an icon of the city. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the lights were not lights at all. In fact they are just flat panels angled to reflect the light below. The result is a huge sign that impacts the surrounding community.
Isn't this our call as Christians as well? Aren't we as Christians supposed to be shining? Jesus tells us that we are the "light of the world." However we are merely reflections because Jesus is the true light of the world. We're just mirrors. But here is the catch. In order to be a mirror for Christ, we must be clean, focused on him, and in the world. Obviously a mirror is much more effective if it doesn't have dirt and grime impeding its ability to reflect light. I know at my house or on my car, cleaning the mirrors is a regular activity. The spiritual parallel is also true in that we must continually work to keep our mirror clean. Secondly, we must also focus on Jesus if we want to reflect him. We can have the cleanest mirror in the county but if it is not trained on Jesus, the reflection will be in vain. In fact it will be reflecting something else because you can't turn off a mirror. It always reflects, so take care in what you focus yours on.
Finally, get in the world. If you want to shine light on something, you must get reasonably close to it. Distance makes light less effective; so if you want to give light to a lost world, get in there and do it. You can't cook dinner by staying in the living room. You must go into the kitchen where the stove, pots and pans, pantry and such are. You can't take light to a place in which you don't go. It is important to note that Jesus left his safe, comfortable, and holy place to go into a dark world with the gospel of love. If God considered it necessary to respond in this manner, shouldn't we?
Let me encourage you to try something. For a day, lay down your Bible, pick up a tool, and go "live" the Bible. I'm not saying "don't study the Bible." But you may be the only Bible that someone reads—go live it for them, and live it well. The Bible does mention Jesus reading Scripture and even expounding on it. However, the Gospels are not about how well Jesus read, studied, prayed or even spoke. The Gospels are about the new covenant. God knew that this new covenant would be misunderstood so he brought in the big gun—Jesus. Well, today Jesus is back on his throne and God chooses to use us as his hands, feet, and light. The religious leaders of Jesus' day did not impress God with their knowledge, smooth talk, or strict adherence to the laws. He was impressed by a boy with fish and bread, a centurion with simple faith, and a leper's genuine appreciation.
Today, we have the Good News, but what do we do with it? Hide it under a bushel? No, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let … hmm, sorry, I digressed there. But wait, aren't those our instructions? If we are the light of the world, shouldn't we be shining? And if we are not the true light but simply sharing the light of Christ with others, doesn't that make us like mirrors and our light merely a reflection of his light? Like that sign on Duke Energy Center, shouldn't our impact to the community be great, visible, and even iconic? To put the great commission into today's vernacular, it might go something like this, "Go light your world—with my light. Be a mirror of me to your community. Go make a difference."