I Will Shine
In the book of Matthew, I find the words spoken by Jesus Christ, “You are the light of the world.” Often when I read things like this, I will personalize them to me. So, as I read this, I read it as “I am the light of the world.” This has a powerful personal meaning to me. In this life, I have made so many mistakes. In a previous life, I ran so many different types of companies. Some were successful, and others not so much; however, in each company I made similar mistakes, which included the double crossing of people and the hurting of many other people. I have pulled more than one Trump and not paid employees. I have missed more than one promise to deliver to customers. I am not proud of who I once was. Yet still in a quiet moment as I sit to study the Word of God, these words from Christ reach beyond time and space to touch my soul. I am the light of the world!
The question that I had for myself was “Who am I?” I was fired from Uber because of my background. I know my background is not the best, not because I am violent since I am not, but I must admit when I read the report that was compiled on me, I would not want to hire me either. Yet, Jesus says I am the light of the world. Not only that, but as I continue to read, I see that I should not be hidden away in some corner; instead, I should stand strong for everyone to see me so that my Father in heaven can receive the glory. I am not sure if I can do that–that lonely corner looks mighty good. In the corner, there is no one reminding me of all the bad things that I regret that I have done. In the corner, there is no one to challenge what I have come to believe because God has been so active in my life. In the corner, I am not exposed to ridicule, laughter, and slander. Yet, again Jesus’ words pierce my soul. To move out of the corner and shine for the world to see.
In my last blog, I wrote about how my greatest fear is that I do not live up to what I have been made for. This one nondescript sentence reveals God’s plan for my life. To reveal that God’s power to transform lives is still available to all who call on him. However, I must first decide to shine. I must decide to move out of the corner to the center of the room. It is easy to miss someone or something in the corner of the room. Unless you are looking for something specific, a lot of people will not look in the corner. However, you cannot miss something standing in the middle of the room. Whether you are looking for it or not, you cannot help but see it because it is in the middle of the room. This move is the hardest move that I have ever had to make.
I spent two and half years in state prison for bad checks. Although this time I was not trying to rip someone off, I did get in over my head, and ultimately, I ended up paying for my sins that I thought I had gotten away with. Right at the start, I had to make a decision: Was I going to serve God or be in this world? I chose God! I will admit my motives were not pure. I wanted out, and on some deep subconscious level, I was hoping that God would open the doors of the jail and let me come home. Or at least in the worst-case scenario, I would get a nice place or a nice job in prison. I was soon faced with my reality. I was not going home anytime soon, and when I got to my camp, it was one of the worst places to go. On top of that, I was placed in the worst dorm on campus. During these two and a half years, I was shown things, and God revealed Himself to me and in my life in a powerful way. This reveal is for another blog.
Where I was is not where I am now. I have been home for almost 2 years now, and until now, I stayed in the corner not willing to shine. Within my first week of being home, I was working on a project that was near and dear to my heart. I placed an ad on GoFundMe.com, and within a week, a person from the past popped up on the ad calling me a scammer and saying that this was a new low. In shame, I did not fight. I just pulled down the ad and went to sit in my corner. In another setting, I designed a website and started a Facebook page. With some friends, we placed daily words of encouragement. It was good as long as I sat in the background. I tried my best to promote the other guys until it all fell apart, and once again I went and sat in the corner. I teamed up with my church and youth ministry, and I gave an idea that was great. I worked with true men and women of God, and the program we developed was great, and it went beyond everyone’s expectations. When it was time to go to the next level, I opted not to fight. I just went and sat in my corner as the program now stalls and waits the slow death of forgetfulness.
In all these situations, there was one common theme: I was not willing to shine for God. I found the warmth of the corner better and more inviting than shining for God’s glory. To shine for God is not for fame or recognition; I know I do not deserve any of that. However, shining has allowed people to see me where I am today, and by my acknowledgement that it was God who brought me here, my testimony will give people hope. For those who knew my past–the people I hurt, the people I betrayed, the ones who are stuck in the past because of me–God can work in their lives to heal the wounds that I caused. God will help move them from the darkness of the past into the light of a bright future because I decided to shine. The song says, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!” I have no illusions of greatness. I was a wretch, but by the grace of God, I can shine.
So, I made a decision to pursue all that God has for me to do! I will move to the center of the room for all to notice. Those who hate me will not have to search the corners of this world to find me. I will be in the center of the room where I belong, shining not for myself but for God and God only. Another song put it like this, “It is not wrong, dear, I belong here, so you might as well get used to me.” For all of the people who lost hope or question the existence of God, I will shine for God, so they will know that God is real and is still saving those who believe in Him. For the lost and those who backslid, I will shine for God. They will know that God is looking for the lost and that God’s greatest love is also for the backslider. For all those who have been through hell, and it seems as if it will not end, I will shine for God. So that they will know that God will not leave them, nor forsake them. Lastly for those who are lonely, and those who are ashamed of the sins of the past, I will shine for God. So that they will know that they are forgiven. So that they will know that they are never alone. For God is always with them!
I will shine for God because he saved me when I deserved to die. I shine not for myself, for I know that on my own, I am a big screw-up. I shine not for myself because with me, I am unreliable and have proven that I cannot be trusted. I do not shine for myself because simply put, I am not that bright! I shine for God because with Christ I can do all things! I shine for God because greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. I shine for God because God is not man that He should lie, nor is He the son of man that He would change His mind. I shine for God because He loves me despite of me!