We are told in Scripture to let our light shine before other people so that they may see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father. That portion of the Gospel of Matthew has been a signature verse in my own life and one I have emphasized over and over with my children. However, I must confess that the way I have always oriented myself to this portion of God's Word had to do with achieving or excelling in some enterprise or activity, and then having the successful person give credit to God. This past week my 15-year-old daughter taught me a lesson when she followed the command of Matthew 5:16 in a way that impressed and instructed her father and me.
In a golf tournament that meant a lot to her, she performed quite poorly. In fact, it proved to be a situation where most people would experience extreme humiliation. However, our daughter, although humbled and quite frustrated, didn't feel compelled to hide her head in shame or avoid meeting up with fellow competitors who had scored much better than she. In fact, our girl was ready and available to console others who had frustrations and upsets of their own – despite the fact that their scores were significantly better than hers. In other words, her light was shining.
However difficult it may be to accept, sometimes God intends for us be salt and light in less than flattering circumstances. Moreover, since we believe in a predestinating God who foreordains whatsoever comes to pass, we must be ready to receive the outcomes He has planned for us, whether or not they conform to our desired results. There is no qualifier on the command to let the light of Christ shine -- it applies to all places and all times.
That evening, we attended a dinner for the contestants and their parents. I'm sorry to report that most were only interested in sharing how they or their child played that day. Some even "congratulated" my daughter, without even asking how she played or knowing what her score was. Yet, as I sat next to my daughter -- a young lady who knows she is a child of God and is secure in that fact -- I was gratified to realize that in spite of my years of being a homeschooling mom, I continue to have plenty to learn. Indeed, I am taught by my students.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].