City Lights

As a young family heading home on the highway from trips away, we’d often pass by the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia. It literally sits on top of a huge hill, hundreds of feet high. At night, you could see its lights sparkling in the distance, often looking like a crown on top a regal head. It reminded us that we were getting close to home.

In Bible times, you can imagine how a city would look at night on top a hill. No electric lights invaded the darkness, but the oil lamps and cooking fires of a community would easily mark its location. Jesus said our lives as disciples need to be like that. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16).

When Jesus taught these principles in his Sermon on the Mount, he had the sterile, cold lives of the Pharisees in mind. Instead of following their unsympathetic lives, he challenged the people to genuinely care for others and become lights in the world.

Kind, helpful good works are always appreciated. People are drawn to the thoughtfulness of others. They are remembered for a long time. When Jesus did kind things for people, they were recorded in the New Testament and studied by followers for centuries.

Good works aren’t to be deliberately shown off, like medals on a uniform. It’s just that they can’t really be hidden. When we’re busy doing them, people naturally notice what you’re doing. And if you’re doing them with humility and care, you will be like city lights on a hill. God will be glorified.

What a great challenge from the Lord of good works.

– Tim Johnson