, Muskogee, OK

December 12, 2012

Fort Faith: Being the light of the world is a team effort

— By Barrett Vanlandingham

There are so many things about the holidays that hold significance for many of us. Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, gatherings of family and friends, and the extra attention put on acts of compassion are some of the biggies in my book.

The joys of the season are highlighted by bright lights, blinking and twinkling reds, blues, greens, Christmas music, ringing bells, and special events.

Most would agree that Americans have been blessed in ways the rest of the world can barely imagine. Certainly, our community enjoys its share of blessings this time of year.

As I drive past the giant lighted Christmas tree in downtown Fort Gibson, my first thoughts are always something like, “Wow! That is impressive. I’m glad somebody got that done.”

So while the lighted tree is pretty incredible, it is those people who had a role in putting all the decorations into place who we should thank.

Being a Christian is the same way. Christ is the true light of the world (ref: John 1:3-9). Still, we are to be a reflection of him for all to see, not for our glory but for God's.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).”

This passage takes place just after crowds of people witnessed Jesus preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing those suffering from various diseases, demon possession, and paralysis (ref: Matt 4:24).  

By God’s grace and power, Jesus performed these miracles so that people would believe not only that he was the son of God, but that obedience to his message would result in salvation.

This was an amazing day in Galilee, and Jesus wanted the people to spread the news of what they had seen and experienced of God’s indescribable gifts for those who believed in Jesus.

Just like those who witnessed Christ’s compassion 2000 years ago, Christians today are also called to be a light to all those around by teaching and modeling God’s will.

At the end of the day, it’s all about bringing glory to our Savior and Creator. The apostle Paul sums it up nicely. “And they praised God because of me (Galatians 1:24).”  Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or