Matthew 5:14-16 – “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.”
Graffiti has long been apart of the hip-hop culture and spans back to the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece. While many things have changed within graffiti, two things have remained constant: Passion and Purpose. The greatest passion for a writer is to have their name or message seen. A writer won’t hit a spot that is out of public view. Have you ever seen a writer tagging underneath a railroad car? Never…How about wild styles the roof of a high-rise building? Nope…that’s because the purpose of writing is to throw it high, in a location where a ridiculous number of people will see it and relate to it in some way. The objective is to represent to the masses so there is no questioning who created the art.
As believers, we are to have the same purpose as the graff-head: to ensure the name of Jesus Christ and His message is known and to represent it to the masses in a relevant way. In the same way, the purpose of a lamp is to give light. If you cover the light up, or otherwise hide it, the light loses its purpose and cannot accomplish its goal. Instead, people put a light in a spot where it can be seen by others and is ‘useful’. This usefulness can be usually translated as good deeds (or fruits of our faith). Verse 16 notes that you should shine “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
But what does that mean? That means we must avoid covering our light by turning the lower-case ‘t’ into a capital ‘I’ (to turn the message of the cross to the message of ourselves). In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus is speaking about fasting. He says, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” We receive eternal gifts for eternal deeds and temporary gifts for temporary deeds.
As I sat and watched the news last night, I was touched by the story of a double-homicide that occurred in my area. They interviewed the spouse of one of the victims. She spoke about how her husband and began to speak to “the men that did this”. I prepared myself for the likely comments of how the killers should spend the rest of their life in prison or be killed themselves. Instead, this widow sincerely spoke of her hopes that the killers would trust in Christ, that they may get the opportunity to meet her husband in heaven and that her husband gets to shake their hands so he could forgive them in person. Blast the expected – spray light unto others that they may see what the Christ has done for us and praise God as a result.
Our tag is eternal but our time to do it is limited. Let your light pierce the darkness!