Light to the World

It happens to me the most when I am out grocery shopping. Maybe because that is the most consistent place I see people I don’t know. From the guy playing his guitar at the front entrance to the mother trying to get in and out as quick as possible with a couple toddlers in tow, I can’t help but wonder.

A few years ago I went to help serve a meal through an organization that provides them to the homeless downtown. It was a youth service project, and I was along as one of the “responsible adults”. As we prayed just before the doors opened, the woman who heads up the ministry told us to “keep our eyes out for Jesus. Every meal we try to figure out if one of the guests is Jesus in disguise.”

As I look at the man with the quitar or the woman with the children, I can’t help but wonder are they Jesus is disguise? Would I treat them any differently if I thought they were?

Honestly, I try not to make eye contact with the musician standing next to the open case collecting spare change. I seldom have any change on me, save for the quarter that I used to free the shopping cart from the corral.

As I cross paths with people in the store, I try to be friendly and courteous, but I am on a mission to get out of there as quickly as I can. Sure, I smile at the kids, and give a you’re-braver-than-me look to the mother as she sheepishly pulls her tot from the cookie aisle.

So, I question, how many times have I walked right past Jesus and not even noticed?

The phrase “what would Jesus do” has faded from pop culture, but the question is still as valid as ever. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he often went out of His way to touch someone’s life. Sometimes, He sought his target out, think of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) who He called down from the tree and invited Himself over for lunch. Sometimes, He is interrupted, while on mission, by the slightest touch, like the woman who had been bleeding for years (Luke 8:40-55).

As I ponder the question, I realize that Jesus wasn’t concerned with the status of anyone He came into contact with. Of course, He wasn’t looking for Himself in others; He would help anyone who needed it, without a second thought about if there would be any benefit to Him.

Maybe the question I should be asking myself is “how can I be Jesus” to the people I pass on my weekly sojourn to the grocery store. Can I brighten someone’s day with a kind word or a helping hand? Should I go prepared with a pocket full of coins? Can I be more than just friendly and actually give 5 minutes to hear someone’s story?

Jesus calls us to be a light to the world (Matt 5:14-16), so whether I am looking for Jesus, trying to follow His example or being a model of Him to the world, I need to let my light shine everywhere.

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