A young man, who’d been in my youth ministry twenty-five years earlier, walked into my church one day. After catching up with each other, he got to the point.
“I stopped by to say thanks for saving my life.”
That’s a conversation starter.
He went on to explain how, as a youth, he’d stopped by my office one afternoon. He’d confessed to me different things in that meeting. I had listened, given counsel, but mostly had simply affirmed him.
Now, two and a half decades later, he said that he’d been contemplating suicide that day. Because I happened to be in my office and listened to him, that put him on a different course. Gave him some hope.
I hadn’t remembered at all that conversation which saved him. I’d simply given him some time.
When Jesus said we should let our light shine in the world, it doesn’t necessarily have to be dramatic. Proactive acts of mercy and justice are essential, of course. Maybe, though, letting our light shine also means letting people know we’re in our office, and they can stop by and find someone who’ll give them some attention.
We certainly divide our attention in many fractured ways, faces transfixed in the glow of smartphones being the most obvious. Such diversions send an unmistakable message. “Too busy, do not disturb.”
A healthy spiritual exercise is being conscious of how approachable you are. Can a family member, coworker, stranger, whoever, see that you’re in your well-lit office with the door open?
Jesus smartly concluded that when people see that your light’s on, they will glorify God. It will be as if, in finding someone who will give them attention, they will encounter God. What else would you call the experience of compassion, understanding, acceptance, affirmation, hope?
Keeping your light on will reveal the reflection of God in your face. People need to see that.
The irony is that you might not even know you’re reflecting until decades later.
3 thoughts on “MONDAY MEDITATION: Door Open, Light On (September 16, 2019)”
I have that happened time after time in my ministry. I see ministry as that of presence, simply listening. In my own life advice of others never really fits, and my growth has come from people who have simply listened to me. So my ministry is that of presence, listening. I had a ;young man come to me as well years after I had simply talked to him, and gave him some food, and he told me the same as you.
Truly listening very important in all walks of life.
Wow! You saved his life and you were not even aware you were doing so.
That goes to further demonstrate that we are often not aware of the effects of our words and actions.