From the time I was a little boy, I have always liked to see things shine. I used to polish my father’s shoes for a nickel. At our house in Philadelphia, we had brass doorknobs, and on the front door, all of the hardware was brass. It had to be polished weekly, which was one of the chores my brothers and I were required to do. It seems I was the only one for whom it was never a chore. No matter how bad it looked at the start, I was always encouraged by what I knew it could and would look like at the end. My passion for things that shine has become more expensive as I have matured, but the driving motivation has always been the shine.
I believe people, communities, and institutions can shine as well. One of the blessings God has allowed me to see is transformation. Transformation occurs when people decide they want to be better, want more, and want to shine. One of my favorite quotes from NFL quarterback Cam Newton is “Shine through the Shade.” It means to keep on being the best you can be despite opposition. Newton is frequently criticized because of his unique style, skill, and swagger. But he continues to excel with disregard to all of the criticism because of his confidence and capability. Sometimes, you have to press on toward your goal even when no one can see the vision but you. A vision is a target that beckons. It is calling you to grow or to build or to expand. It will not leave you alone until you respond to it in one way or another.
In her book, “A Return to Love,” Marianne Williamson wrote these words, “Our deepest fear is not that we are weak. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world... As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." With these words, Williamson is teaching us how important it is to “shine.” Not in terms of showing off or being braggadocious, but in sharing the gifts that God gave us with the world. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Do you desire to live a life pleasing to God? Do you desire to live a life that is rich and fulfilling? Do you desire to be a blessing to others? If you do, then you must let your light shine! Let it shine!
Shining for Jesus,