Letting Our Light Shine Continuously
1 What is light? The dictionary defines it as “something that makes vision possible.” But really, despite his advanced technology, man still does not fully know the answer to the question Jehovah raised as recorded at Job 38:24. Can we get along without light? Without light we could not exist. Light is essential for physical sight, and the Bible tells us that in a spiritual sense, “God is light.” (1 John 1:5) We are totally dependent upon the One who “gives us light.”—Ps. 118:27.
2 This is true in a physical sense but even more so in a spiritual way. False religion has misguided the masses of people, leaving them in spiritual darkness, “groping for the wall just like blind men.” (Isa. 59:9, 10) Prompted by his unsurpassing love and compassion, Jehovah ‘sends out his light and truth.’ (Ps. 43:3) Literally millions of appreciative ones have responded, coming “out of darkness into his wonderful light.”—1 Pet. 2:9.
3 Jesus Christ plays a vital role in bringing this light to the world. He said: “I have come as a light into the world, in order that everyone putting faith in me may not remain in the darkness.” (John 12:46) All his time, energy, and resources were directed toward making the light of truth known. He traveled the length and breadth of his homeland, preaching and teaching in virtually every city and village. He endured relentless persecution from every side, but he remained steadfast in his commission to spread the light of truth.
4 Jesus concentrated on selecting, training, and organizing disciples, with a specific goal in mind. At Matthew 5:14-16 we read his instructions to them: “You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” Just like Jesus, they were to be “illuminators in the world,” disseminating the light of truth far and wide. (Phil. 2:15) They gladly accepted that responsibility, viewing it as their primary purpose in life. A short time later, Paul was able to say that the good news “was preached in all creation that is under heaven.” (Col. 1:23) The entire Christian congregation was united in accomplishing that great work.
5 We today should be thankful that we have come to be among those who have “put off the works belonging to darkness.” (Rom. 13:12, 13) We can show our appreciation by imitating the example set by Jesus and the faithful Christians in the past. The need for others to hear the truth is more urgent and critical now than at any time in human history. No other activity can begin to compare with this work in its urgency and far-reaching benefits.
6 How Can We Shine as Illuminators? The primary way to let our light shine is to share in the Kingdom-preaching work. Every congregation has regular, organized arrangements for preaching in its assigned territory. Huge quantities of literature are made available in great variety and in many languages. Extensive education is provided through the meetings, and assistance in training others personally is offered by those who are experienced. Opportunities to participate are open to men, women, older ones, and even children. Every individual in the congregation is invited to participate at whatever level his abilities and circumstances permit. All the functions of the congregation are focused on preaching, with provisions to help every member share in some way. Regular, close association with the congregation is the best way to ensure that our light keeps shining.
7 We can shine in ways that may not involve a verbal witness. We can attract the attention of others simply by our conduct. That is what Peter had in mind when he urged: “Maintain your conduct fine among the nations, that . . . they may as a result of your fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God.” (1 Pet. 2:12) Many judge a work or an organization by the conduct of those associated with it. When observers note people who are morally clean, honest, peaceable, and law-abiding, they view such people as different and conclude that they live by standards that are on a much higher level than those followed by the majority. So a husband is letting his light shine when he honors and cherishes his wife in a loving manner; the wife does the same by respecting her husband’s headship. Children stand out as different when they obey their parents and avoid sexual immorality and the use of drugs. An employee who is conscientious about his work, honest, and considerate of others is highly valued. By demonstrating these Christian qualities, we are letting our light shine, recommending our way of life to others.
8 Preaching is talking to others about what we have learned from God’s Word. That is done from the public platform or at the doors, but it is by no means limited to such occasions. Our daily activities put us in contact with scores of people. How many times a day do you speak to your next-door neighbors? How often does someone knock at your door? How many different people do you rub shoulders with when you do your shopping, ride the bus, or work at your secular job? If you are a young person in school, can you count the number of individuals you speak to each day? The opportunities to speak to others are virtually unlimited. All you need to do is to get a few Scriptural thoughts in mind, keep a Bible and some tracts handy, and take the initiative to speak up when you get the chance.
9 Even though informal witnessing is quite simple, some feel reluctant to try it. They may be reticent, insisting that they are too shy or too nervous to approach strangers. They may feel apprehensive about drawing attention to themselves or getting a harsh response. Those who are experienced in informal witnessing can tell you that there is rarely any cause for anxiety. Others are basically just like us; they have the same needs, feel the same concerns, and want the same things for themselves and their families. Most will respond in a kindly manner to a cheerful smile or a friendly greeting. To get started, you may have to ‘muster up boldness.’ (1 Thess. 2:2) Once you get going, however, you may be surprised and delighted with the results.
10 We Are Blessed When We Let Our Light Shine: Here are some examples of refreshing experiences resulting from informal witnessing: A 55-year-old lady was attempting to cross the street. Just as a car was about to hit her, a sister grabbed her arm and pulled her to safety, saying: “Please take care. We are living in perilous times!” She then explained why the times are so dangerous. The lady asked, “Are you one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” Having obtained one of our books from her sister, the lady wanted to meet one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and this encounter made it possible.
11 A sister started a conversation with a woman in a waiting room at the doctor’s office. The woman listened attentively and then said: “For some time, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been crossing my path; but if sometime in the future I actually become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses myself, it will be because of what you just told me. Listening to you is like starting to see light in a dark place.”
12 An act of kindness can be a stepping-stone to helping others learn the truth. While walking home from field service, two sisters noticed an elderly woman who appeared to be ill as she got off the bus. They stopped and asked the lady if she needed help. She was so surprised that two complete strangers would show interest in her that she insisted on knowing what it was that sparked such a kind gesture. This opened the door for a witness. The lady readily gave her address and warmly invited them to visit her. A study was started. Soon the lady began attending meetings and is now sharing the truth with others.
13 An elderly sister takes advantage of early-morning witnessing on the local beach. She meets housemaids, baby-sitters, bank clerks, and others who take their morning stroll on the boardwalk. She conducts Bible studies, sitting on the benches. Several people have learned the truth from her and are now Jehovah’s Witnesses.
14 At her secular job, a sister heard a fellow worker talk about a political party that she believed could solve the world’s problems. The sister spoke up, relating promises about what God’s Kingdom will do. This discussion at work led to a regular Bible study in the home, and eventually the lady and her husband became Witnesses.
15 Never Forget You Are a Witness! When Jesus described his disciples as “the light of the world,” he reasoned that they should be helping others to benefit from the spiritual enlightenment of God’s Word. If we apply Jesus’ counsel, how will we view our ministry?
16 When searching for employment, some people choose a part-time job. They put limits on how much time and effort they will put into it because they prefer to use most of their time pursuing activities they find more rewarding. Are we taking a similar view of our ministry? Even though we might feel obligated and even be willing to set aside some time for the ministry, should our primary interests be elsewhere?
17 Realizing that there is no such thing as a part-time Christian, we made our dedication, ‘disowning ourselves’ and agreeing to follow Jesus “continually.” (Matt. 16:24) Our desire is to continue being “whole-souled,” taking advantage of every opportunity to let our light shine in order to reach people wherever they are. (Col. 3:23, 24) We must resist worldly attitudes, maintain our zeal as in the beginning, and make sure that our light continues to shine forth brilliantly. Some may have allowed their zeal to cool off and their light to become only a faint glow, hardly visible a short distance away. Such a one may need help to recover lost zeal for the ministry.
18 Some may tend to hold back because our message is unpopular to many. Paul said that the message about the Christ was “foolishness to those who are perishing.” (1 Cor. 1:18) No matter what others said, however, he forcefully declared: “I am not ashamed of the good news.” (Rom. 1:16) One who is ashamed feels inferior or unworthy. How could we possibly feel ashamed when we speak about the Supreme Sovereign of the universe and the marvelous provisions he has made for our eternal happiness? It is unthinkable that we would feel inferior or unworthy when we speak these truths to others. Instead, we should feel compelled to do our utmost, displaying our conviction that we have “nothing to be ashamed of.”—2 Tim. 2:15.
19 The light of truth that is now shining in lands all around the earth warmly offers the hope of everlasting life in a paradise new world. Let us show that we have taken to heart the admonition to let our light shine continuously! If we do, we will have cause to rejoice just like the disciples who every day “continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.”—Acts 5:42.