When I was a little girl, my mom had a really special friend. She was one of those people that just cared so much about my mom. She would show up on Valentines, birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, and many times in between with special little gifts, notes, or treats (I loved her!). My mom loved this dear friend who was always attentive to her needs and would just sit and listen. And then one day, her friend moved far away and I was so sad. Not just because there would no longer be treats, but because I was just so sad for my mom because I knew how much she loved her. And how much she would miss her. But guess what? The gifts didn’t stop and the notes and phone calls kept coming even years after she had moved. I found out later that this incredible woman was assigned to be my mom’s ministering sister (in our church this is a way that we make sure everyone is being watched over) . I think she really took “hold up your light that it may shine forth” to a whole new level. And I loved her for how she ministered to mom and what a great example she was to me.
During this month, many of you may be participating in the Light the world Initiative. It is a great way that the first presidency has given us to help us with ideas of how we can let our light shine forth. And most of the acts are very simple easy ways that we can touch the lives of others by sharing the light of Christ.
But what I love so much is that in the scripture I shared in the beginning, Christ gives us the way of exactly how to hold up our light that it may shine into the world. He says: Behold I am the blight which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do…
That which ye have seen me do. So that got me thinking about all the things we see in the scriptures that tell us of the way that Christ lived and ministered to the world. And I think an important point to make is that He did not appear to the whole entire world and try to change it all at once did he? No, it was usually through one person at a time or small groups of people. I love that He simply says: do as I do… just follow me and do what you see me do.
Much like a parent models behavior for a child. How does a child learn to walk, to talk, to laugh, to play, to love, to serve? They learn through following what they see others do, namely their parents and family.
In Sister Sharon Eubank’s talk April 2019 conference address she said, “The New Testament shows the great efforts Jesus made to reach out to all kinds of people: lepers, tax collectors, children, Galileans, harlots, women, Pharisees, sinners, Samaritans, widows, Roman soldiers, adulterers, the ritually unclean.” He did not forsake anyone.
Jesus cares for us, he knows us, he knows our needs, He loves us, He carries us, He lifts us, He leads and guides us, and yes, he walks beside us. These are the ways that He has shown us that we are to light the world.
As I was thinking about this a couple of scriptures came to mind.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
and “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
“We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.
Each of us came to earth having been given the Light of Christ. As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others.”
So the way that we can light the world would be through our good works and also by our example.
This year we have been asked to study the Come follow me curriculum individually and in our homes. I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed studying about my Savior this year. To be honest, I wasn’t very good at doing it in the beginning, but as the year went on I got better. So many stories about the life of Christ have touched me this year and I have felt closer to my Savior than ever before. The great part about most of the stories that are shared about Jesus Christ’s life and ministry were shared by apostles that were with Him and got to see first hand, Him doing the things that He wanted them to learn how to do.
I believe that the more that we learn about the Savior the more we will want to become like Him. He was just sooo good! And loved others so much. One of the stories about Jesus that I love so much was at the last supper where he did the simple act of humbly washing the feet of each of the apostles. When he was done He explained to them in John 13:14-15 If I then your Lord, and master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.
Not only does Jesus show us the way to minister to others physically. He also shows how to minister to them spiritually. To succor the weak, lift up the hands that hang down, mourn with those who mourn, and strengthen the feeble knees. He says to us all in Matthew 28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
How did Jesus know who needed him and what they needed? It’s simple, He paid attention to those around Him. He looked up! Can we look up past our electronics and cell phones? Can we look upon people with Christ like eyes? Of course we can, it may take some work to drop our judgements at the door and really see them. But as we do, the light of Christ will burn within is and help light the way for others.
As sister Sharon Eubanks said, “Our individual light may be like only one light bulb on a tree. But we still shine our small light, and all together, like Temple Square at Christmas time, we attract millions of people to the house of the Lord.” And might I add millions of people to Jesus Christ the light of the world.
I love how Christ also gives us a promise in D&C 50:24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
As we give love, and serve, and lift others. Our light will get brighter and brighter.
I watched a video given by Elder Bednar about the light of Christ. And he talks about the light being within us that when we see someone struggling for example, and feel a compassion and a desire to help them. Many people would say that is just natural but Elder Bednar explains no that is the influence of God to be better and do better. Every person ever in the world is influenced by the light of Christ for goodness. When we yield to that influence to do good and become good, then the light of Christ increases within us.
So, as I see it, if we are to hold up our lights and shine forth to the world…. even as we see him do. And by following through with what we are influenced to do. Wouldn’t we try to do all they we can to serve? And that starts with just one person. And then one becomes two and then three and so on. Until your light is shining brightly before the world. We can’t light the world all at once by ourselves, but we can do it together, one person at at time, one small act at a time.