Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Every year, it seems, new “jobs” are created that didn’t exist in the past. I put “jobs” in quotes because some of these new “jobs” aren’t really “jobs” at all. For instance, we now have people who are known as “influencers”, because they have a YouTube channel or do TikTok and have garnered viewers or sponsors and now can make money sitting in front of a camera and behind their computer screen spouting off ideas to “influence” others. Education, work experience, and professionalism have been replaced by “likes”, “looks,” and “luck.” And I, for one, don’t consider being an “influencer” as carrying much benefit in the world today, at least from a vocational standpoint. I am influenced by a lot of things, but TikTok isn’t one of them.
Ironically, God has called us all to be “influencers” and “activists.” No, we are not called on to vandalize fine works of art, force streets to close, march while screaming or chain ourselves to trees. God has called on us to work in more subtle ways. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells His followers (which includes us today) “You are the light of the world.” Why light? Because light is the quality that we share with God. In John 8:12, Jesus says “I AM the light of the world.” Jesus is telling us that we are supposed to be His light in the world. We are supposed to represent Him to the world. We are supposed to love unconditionally, as He loves us. We are supposed to forgive easily, like He does. And we are supposed to influence others to be like Him. However, we are not called to do that through sitting behind a screen in our homes and shooting videos and posting them on social media. We are called to DO good works. We are called to show acts of love, compassion, forgiveness, patience, kindness, etc. And in doing these things, in shining God’s light through our actions, not our words, Jesus says that “they (the people we interact with) will see your (our) good works and give glory” to God.
The loudest voice is the one that influences the most. Thus, the race in the world today is not to be the smartest, to be the best at something, or to put in the years to be able to excel at something. The race today is to be the loudest, even if what a person says is nonsense. The world has gradually eliminated excellence. It has also eliminated humility. Of course, God’s expectations of His people has never changed. He is still the light of the world. We are still the light of the world. Being a light in the world is what connects us to God. And God tells us that when our light so shines before men, they will give glory to God, i.e. they will be influenced to give glory to God. They will be influenced primarily by love (the most excellent way, described in I Corinthians 12:31) and humility.
Does that mean we should start recording TikTok videos to showcase our Christianity? No. It does mean, however, that we are intentional about serving, intentional about being loving, kind, forgiving and patient. And if we are intentional, and consistent, people will take note. In Isaiah 55:2, we read, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good.” In modern times, why do we spend our time on that which is fake? Why do we go after things that are fleeting? Things that ultimately have no meaning and certainly no satisfaction? Why do we let ourselves be influenced towards things that are meaningless at best and dangerous at worst? Rather we have to go after that which is good and satisfying to God, even if it is not necessarily satisfying to or easy for us.
Be an influencer today for sure. But influence by what you do, not what you say on video. And influence with silent action rather than loud rhetoric and empty words.
Everyone has the power to influence others. The question is what will we influence them to do. We can influence towards the bad or we can influence towards the good.
The last point is that we influence others according to what influences us. If we add up the hours we spend watching meaningless things on YouTube or TikTok and then hold it against how many hours we spend worshipping or in private prayer and devotion to Scripture, no doubt many of us spend way more time on social media than on spirituality. This is what is influencing us. And this is what we are influencing others to do. We are influenced by the loudest voices in our lives. The hope is that the loudest voice is the voice of Christ, in our ears, in our minds and in our hearts. However, He won’t influence us if we don’t allow Him to.
Lord, thank You for shining Your light on me, especially in the moments and in the times when it feels like I’m in darkness, either by choice or by circumstance. Thank You for affording me the opportunity, even unworthy as I am, to be Your light. Help me to let Your light shine through me, so that others will be influenced by my actions to give glory to You. Give me the wisdom and discernment to act in a way that brings honor to You. And help others to see You through the things I do today. Amen.
Be an influencer, by consistently doing good works which bring glory to God. We are all called to be His influencers!