Letting Your Light Shine

Life Notes—February 3, 2011

“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.”  Matthew 5:14-16 

In grade school, the Beatles magically appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and I was hooked.  I dreamed of playing the guitar and becoming famous, loved and revered by everyone!  I dug out my dad’s old guitar and, with the help of a chord book, learned how to finger a few chords.  I mowed lawns all one summer to buy a guitar of my own.  I practiced and dreamed and practiced and dreamed.  In junior high I began performing in bands and was “on my way!” 

After many years of performing and writing and still not being able to meaningfully support myself without working other jobs (not to mention not being famous, loved or revered by anyone), I was sick of my dream.  I didn’t like performing in clubs or the music I was playing or the music I was writing.  So, I quit.  Selling most of my equipment, I prepared for a non-musical life.  In the context of the scripture above, the lamp I had lit and nourished for years was now hidden under a bushel basket.  Miserable in pursuing my dream, it was time to move on. 

Sometime later, Carrie and I were married, became members of First Church and were promptly recruited as youth sponsors.  A few weeks into that adventure the youth director mentioned how they really needed a guitar player.  So, I began leading songs for the youth group.  In the early 1990’s the senior pastor wanted to start a new type of worship service—a “contemporary” service with guitars and some of the songs we were singing with the youth.  Fast-forward 20+ years and I’m having the most fulfilling fun of my musical life as a Christian musician.  Famous?  Certainly not.  But I have a life I love, a church family I love and a place for my lamp to shine!  

What lamp (talent) are you hiding under a bushel basket?  Maybe your gift is making others feel welcome.  Do you cook or clean or make videos?  Can you teach or babysit or fix things or make phone calls or run errands or visit the homebound or stuff envelopes or pray or read or sing or encourage others or paint or dance or hug or ______________(fill in the blank)?  Your church and those of us around you need your light to shine!  

This Sunday is United Methodist Women’s Sunday and worship at both campuses will be led by women.  Rev. Janet Maxwell will preach downtown, where Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall and traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Rev. Jan Todd is preaching at the west campus, where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.  

Come home to worship.  Sometimes our light just needs to find the right place to shine!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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