[pictureLent] March 5: SHINE

By Kristyne Young
Director of Congregational Life at New Covenant UMC
The Villages, Florida

First, read Matthew 5:14-16

I have recently been spending some time thinking about what we “Christians” looks like to the world. What are we telling people about Christ by the way we live our lives? 

A few weeks ago I was having a bad day. It was one of those days when everything that could go wrong went wrong. By the end of the day I was exhausted and just wanted to go home, eat dinner and go to bed. Then I remembered, dinner, I was in charge of that. To keep things easy, I decided to stop at the local Publix and get subs for dinner. 

However, when I arrived at the sub counter the line was massive. Everyone seemed to be placing orders for extremely complicated subs. On top of that, the lady making the subs seemed to be moving slow! Needless to say, by the time it was my turn my bad day had bubbled up into a bad attitude.

I must confess that I was not the nicest person in the world to the lady making my subs. As I let out an angry sigh, intended to let the poor lady know I was not happy with her speed, I looked down and noticed that I was still wearing my church nametag. Ouch!

I am a little ashamed to admit the thoughts that went through my brain at that moment. I instantly thought, “Oh no! She knows I am a Christian. Now I can’t get away with this attitude. I can’t continue my pity party. Now I have to be nice.”

Of course my next thought was an overwhelming feeling of shame for thinking that way and for my behavior in general. I was so ashamed of myself. I apologized for my attitude, purchased my subs, quickly exited Publix and headed home. 

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on that day. My problem with that day was that I only felt ashamed about the way I had behaved AFTER I noticed my church name tag. I should have felt ashamed with or without the name tag. I should behave like a Christian all the time, not just when I think people know I am a Christian. I should be letting the light of Jesus Christ shine through my life all the time. The world should be able to look at me and know I am a Christian by my actions, not because of my name tag. 

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for your grace, a grace that covers all. We thank you for being with us on good days and bad days. We thank you for loving us when we are nice but also when we have attitude problems. Lord, we ask that you would help us to remember to be shining lights. Help us remember to treat others the way we would want to be treated. Help us to strive each day to be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus Christ to the world. Amen.

Discussion/Refection Questions:

1.    Have you ever had a day like this? Talk with someone about it and what you could learn from it.
2.    How could you keep bad attitudes from bubbling up at the wrong moments?
3.    What is one change you could make in your life this week that would help to shine the light of Christ to the world?