Dance floors and lampstands
On a busy Monday afternoon, a second shift co-worker walked into the open office the four of us shared, looked right at me, and with an accusing tone she said, “I saw you.”
My confused look didn’t deter her. She said it again, but this time with more emphasis: “I saw you!” And then, it hit me. I knew exactly what she was talking about.
The previous Saturday evening had been the company’s annual Holiday party. Most years, our family’s schedule had prevented my wife and I from going. However, this year we had decided to get dressed up and attend. This was no small event, either – there were fancy drinks, several buffets of rich foods, and lots of dancing.
I have to admit, I felt a pang of self-consciousness when we decided to hit the dance floor. Not because I was afraid to dance with my wife – we always have a great time, and her dance moves make mine look good – but I was fully aware that almost none of my co-workers had ever seen me in this type of setting. At work, I was the reliable answer-guy you brought your investigations to, a professional to help you figure out your industry-regulated best next step – not exactly the type of person you would expect to groove through the songs of the decades. I wasn’t so much worried that they would think less of me, but I was certainly curious as to what their reaction would be.
As we made our way to the floor, I had an important realization. Under no circumstances should I look around for people’s reactions. As much as I was either self-conscious or curious, focusing on anyone else while dancing with my wife would give the complete wrong impression. So as we started to move with the music, my attention was focused solely on enjoying the moment with my bride. We danced the night away, had a blast, and I completely forgot my curiosity surrounding my co-workers’ potential reactions.
Apparently, we were noticed. And talked about. Even to the point where a co-worker was excited to point out, two days later, that she had been a witness to the event. But what, exactly, did they see? They saw a couple totally focused on each other and enjoying the moment at hand. It stood out from what they expected. Watching it unfold was attractive. Seeing it first-hand was something they thought about, and even talked about days later.
But I think there’s an even bigger lesson here, one that pertains to how we, as Christians, actually show others that we are Christ-followers. It seems that every ten years or so, there’s a new witnessing technique or life-story-sharing strategy that comes out. But “witnessing” is much simpler than we make it out to be, because we tend to forget what Jesus said near the beginning of His ‘Sermon on the Mount’, when He looked at disciples and said:
You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are 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.
The disciples would best represent Christ – shine their light – through the lives they would lead and the choices they would make. Jesus said that their good works would be what would stand out to and attract others to their Father in heaven.
It can be hard to wrap our heads around how doing good works makes that much of a “witnessing” impact; however, demonstrations of patience, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness are not things the world is used to seeing. Imitating Jesus will cause others to take notice…but we cannot be concerned if anyone has noticed our light. Instead, our focus should be solely on the fuel for our light – our relationship with Jesus. As we spend time with Jesus through prayer and studying the Scripture, our good works will be naturally fueled so they shine brightly from the lampstand location we find ourselves in.
In order for Christians to tell others about Jesus, the world doesn’t need us to be schooled in the latest witnessing techniques or debate programs. We don’t have to have all the answers to the tough theological questions people will ask. But in order for others to come to the point where they give glory to your Father in heaven, they need to see us Christians doing good works from the platform of our day-to-day lives.
So make sure you spend time with Jesus so you can shine your light today.