Shine Your Light
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Many years ago I went through a span of time when, anytime, I needed to go shopping for an item of clothing I felt incredibly compelled to demonstrate loyalty to a particular little dress shop in town that specialized in petite sizes. In fact, for about two years time I went into this shop every two weeks to browse; sometimes even once a week. I did not always purchase, but I “window-shopped” just the same.
I know for many people this is ordinary and nothing particularly worth writing about. There is something unique about this story and I believe, I know, the hand of God was all over it! I have never been much of a window-shopper (unless it is shoes or watches/bracelets. I have a love for both). I am the type of shopper that knows what I need, go to the store, look for the needed item and then I purchase it. Shopping over. I was definitely not the type to linger in a store on a weekly basis. Most Moms don’t have time for that anyway. But this little shop, I could feel the Lord tug upon my heart to frequent her and spend time with her as though she were a close friend. What makes the story even more unique is that I did not particularly care for the clothes this store carried. The items were very nice, but not my style. I would bet that the target market was a more “seasoned” female.
It didn’t take long for me to figure out that the manager of the petite department in this small, family owned business was the same woman each time I came in. She was darling! I will call her “Becky” and she was always very friendly and willing to help if help was needed. I usually didn’t need much help (I like to do it myself…I’m that kind of shopper). Because I went into this store almost every week, and I am kind of a friendly person, I got to know Becky, but only on a casual and surface level.
I guess I’d been going into this store for at least a year, faithful, and wondering every single time why I had such a tug of the Lord for this store? I didn’t get it. There were other shops in town that I loved and did shop there also, but this one had a different layer of loyalty (despite not really liking the clothes so much). So, about a year gone by and on a certain occasion I did find something I liked and was at the counter to purchase. My friend Becky was there as usual. As she was ringing up my items she began to share a story with me. She told me she had just returned from a womens retreat at a friend’s church and how she had rededicated her life to God. She continued even deeper, revealing to me that she hadn’t been to church in many, many years and she was so excited to return and get reacquainted with God. Her enthusiasm was very evident. I listened, encouraged and congratulated her. What surprised me was what she said next. Becky went on to thank me and give all the credit to me for her rededicated life and inspiration to seek after God. She even credited her courage to attend the retreat (for she was quite frightened to go) to me as well. I was FLOORED! “Me?” was the only thought going through my head in that moment. I had never even shared my faith or talked about God with her before. How in the world could I take credit for any of that? So, I asked her? “Why me, Becky?” Her reply humbled me to a new level. She proceeded to agree, I hadn’t shared all that much about my faith or God or church with her, she then continued and said, “but you didn’t have to.” Now I was even more confused. She told me I didn’t have to talk to her about God, she said she knew I was a Christian and that I loved God by how I carried myself and how I treated her and others in her store.
She told me it was my life that drew her back to God not my words.
Wow. How do you respond to that? I was so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of something I felt I truly had little to do with. God was the one drawing her and He sent me into that store for more than a year just so I could be around Becky. So Becky could watch me and know me on a casual basis and God would use His Light, found in me, to draw her near.
I learned so much about God through that experience. I learned, yet again, on ever deepening levels to trust Him and how He leads and guides me. Shopping in that store had little to do with what I liked and everything to do what He liked, Becky. He so craved her attention and missed His friendship with her that He sent me out to find her so she would draw back to Him. Never be afraid to be a witness for the Gospel. It doesn’t have to be scary. There will be times when you do need to speak about the reality of Calvary and all that Christ did for us by surrendering himself to a tree. But there will many times, you may never know how many, that people will watch you from afar or from close proximity and learn all about Jesus by what they see in you. You do not have to be “perfect” or “have it all together” to be kind, patient and gentle with others. I believe for many people all they need to meet Jesus is an experience with a person who would value their time, value their thoughts/opinions and to make them feel valued. Love. The Bible says the world will know us by how we love each other. Sometimes we make Christianity so complicated, but it really isn’t. Love people and love God; Simple and duplicatable. If God is in your heart then you can do exactly what I did and exceedingly grander still! God is the one doing it anyway, all we have to do is be willing to listen for His lead and follow after Him, even when it leads to a petite boutique for older ladies. Jesus will be there.
You are His Beloved; He is drawing you near. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. All He needs is a willing heart who may dare to Hope. You are enough to Shine Bright during the daylight hours and the darkest hours of night.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. ‘By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35