What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “shine?” Stars, sunlight, diamonds, sparkle, shimmer, dazzle, an old pop song? The culture revolves around the shiny lives of movie stars and musicians. We are encouraged to be true to ourselves, to let our true selves shine through. We even aim to present the shiniest, most beautiful parts of our lives through social media.
But, what does it mean to shine? By definition, shine means “to be bright by the reflection of light.” Shining is all about reflecting. And when we belong to Jesus, our lives look different than the world. Instead of reflecting chaos, despair, and selfish desires, our lives reflect the hope and good news we have found in Jesus.
We can look to the life of Jesus and the example he set in the Gospels to help us understand the significance of our life’s reflection. The Gospel of John mentions the importance of Jesus being sent by the Father forty times. Count them. Forty! Jesus was the Father’s representative on Earth. He did as his Father would do, healed as his Father would heal, and loved as his Father would love. From birth to ascension, Jesus reflected the heart of his Father to the world.
John 20:21 goes on to tell us, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you,” Just as Jesus represented the Father who sent him, we represent Jesus who sends us. Did you catch that? Not only are we being sent by Jesus, we “re-present” Him. We cannot replicate what Jesus did on the cross, but we get to represent Him to our family, friends, and neighbors.
“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 (MSG)
As followers of Jesus, those who have seen his glory and experienced His love and mercy, our ultimate assignment and privilege is to be a bright reflection of Him — to display His character and carry out His work to a world deeply in need. We are compelled and propelled to extend compassion, comfort those who mourn, apply the healing salve, and dispense His living water to every tribe, every nation, and every tongue! And when we do— we shine! We burn bright for the glory of God!