Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
The Leonardo da Vinci painting, “Mona Lisa,” does not sit in a private home where only the owners can enjoy its intrigue and beauty. This famous masterpiece is prominently displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, where any who visit the museum can consider the famous smile of the woman in the picture. In other words, the beauty of a great painting is not to be hidden, but to be shared.
Jesus told His disciples something similar in His “Sermon on the Mount.” He instructs His disciples that because of their relationship with Him, they have something to share, not to hide. “14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 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)
The light which followers of Jesus have to share is Jesus Himself. He is the “light of men . . . [that] shines in darkness.” (John 1:4-5) Jesus is “THE Light of the world” (John 8:12) which shines in this dark world of sin and of evil. In the face of evil, Jesus is holy and righteous. In this world of selfishness and hatred, Jesus is sacrificial love. In this world of guilt, Jesus brings forgiveness. In this world of death, Jesus brings life. He is “The Life.” (John 14:6)
So, like the Mona Lisa is not hidden but displayed, Christians naturally want to share Jesus and His love and His affect on our lives. How to share the Light of the World is the question we ask ourselves. There are some examples of large numbers of people coming to faith at one time. In the book of Jonah the whole city of Ninevah came to repentance and acknowledged God. In Acts 2, 3000 people came to faith and were baptized on Pentecost Day as the Holy Spirit powerfully filled God’s people. But, most often the good news of Jesus, the Light of the World, is shared on a personal, one-to-one basis.
So, family members have brought family members to know and believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin for eternal life. Friends have shared their faith and hope in Jesus with friends, and allowed God’s Spirit to work faith. Sometimes a “random act of kindness” becomes an opportunity to witness to a stranger the reason for that kindness, the underserved love a Christian believer receives in Jesus.
For a Christian, sharing Jesus is not like selling a product. That would be using friendships and relationships as a vehicle to accomplish a purpose we desire, but others may not want. But, when we love someone, when we are friends with someone, we share ourselves, and in turn others share themselves with us. A Christian is a person who is changed by the love and the power and the grace of Jesus. So, when we share who we are, we are also sharing with others the person whom Jesus made us to be. When a Christian shares themselves, they naturally also share Jesus.
This is a long introduction to talk about some sharing of Jesus I did last week. Somehow, I have discovered that I really enjoy fishing. Catching is even better, but just being outdoors, by the water, looking for fish, and seeing the other wonders of nature which God created, all this brings a peace and a joy to my heart.
From August 6 to August 13 I got to go fishing 5 times! Once, on Wednesday before work, I had been asked to take someone fishing, but then they couldn’t go. I went fishing anyway. However, the other four times I went fishing I took someone who had indicated they were interested in a fishing trip. When I take people fishing I get to share a part of me that I enjoy, but I also get to create or build relationships. And when I share, I hope and pray and believe that Jesus who loves me and saves me is also shared with my family and friends.
My doctoral dissertation in 2008 was entitled, “Fishing for Men While Fishing With Men.” This dissertation was not so much a theory to be tested, but more so a lesson I had learned. When I share the things I love with others, I can also share with others the grace and love Jesus has given me.
Fishing is not the only way to build relationships. My wife likes to sew and to quilt, and enjoys sharing her gifts and her talents with others. But, when she teaches another person to sew, or when she works with someone on a quilt, Kathy is also sharing herself. And the person Kathy is has been greatly influenced by God’s love for her in Jesus. So when Kathy teaches sewing, she also shares Jesus.
Has Jesus changed your life for the good? Would you like to “let your light shine” before others? What are the joys of your life? Think of how you can share your passions with others. As you share, may Jesus shine through you!
A Child of God, Letting the Light of Jesus Shine Through Me While Fishing,
P.S. It was a really good week for fishing. In fact, last week may have been the best week I ever had in the Mat-Su for catching salmon. Here are some pictures.
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.