Luke 8:16 No man lights a lamp and covers it with a vessel or places it under the bed, rather he places it on a lamp stand so that all who enter will see its light. 17 For nothing is hidden which will not be revealed, nor secret which will not be known and come to be revealed. 18 Then take heed how you hear; for whoever may have, it will be given to him; and whoever may not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.
“No man lights a lamp …” What exactly is being said? Jesus is the light of the world. If you invite Him into your heart and life, then your lamp is lit. You become completely changed, a new person, but that doesn’t always mean the change will appear radically to the world around you. Were you living a really filthy life-style when you invited Him into your heart? Then people should likely see a radical change. Were you normally a contemplative person when you came to a realization that Jesus is real and invited Him into your heart? Then it is possible that people may not see that change so radically?
The Light of the World taking residence in your heart makes you a lamp to the world by changing you from within. Does it mean you should start going around with a ‘reverently pious’ attitude? Of course not. Jesus brings joy into one’s heart. Will you suddenly become ‘bubbly and exuberant’? That’s a possibility, but not necessarily so. Sometimes people seem ‘bubbly’ because they think they should be that way. That is artificial exuberance and the lamp that you show should not be artificial because you have the genuine Light of the World within you. One shouldn’t expect to make an effort for that light to shine. It should glow naturally.
Christians are to live by God’s holy law of love, as all of the law is built on love. That love is how Christians are to be recognized as ‘set-apart’. It’s the love one shows that is the light that others see. It is the light of that love that causes us to be witnesses for Christ. Being a witness doesn’t mean stopping everyone you see and handing out a gospel tract or going door-to-door like a traveling salesman. I’m not saying that tracts or visitation is bad, but any witnessing is to be at the direction that the Holy Spirit points one to.
Suppose someone who isn’t a Christian is in a very bad mood. Let’s say you pray for this person, but approaching that person may not be the right thing to do at that time. If he is in a very bad mood and you try to tell him some Bible verses, he may just feel like someone else is preaching at him, and this could agitate his situation. Pray for people and let the Holy Spirit prepare a person for witnessing. Suppose he’s in a bad mood, and you do some kind, thoughtful act for him. This may cause him to reflect on your thoughtfulness and the Holy Spirit may use this act to prepare his spirit to be more accepting of a gospel message. This is as though you have planted a seed in his spirit, and you may not even be aware of it. You may never see him again, but later someone else may do another kind act for him, and this could be as ‘watering’ the ‘seed’ you had planted earlier. Later someone else may speak to him about the love of Jesus, and his heart may become receptive to the message of God’s love through His Son. This is the meaning when it is said that someone may ‘plant a seed’, another may ‘water’, and another may ‘harvest’. So being a witness for Christ is not necessarily going out looking to set up a podium to preach from, but a living of the life of love which shows the true Light of the World to others. So do we better understand ‘don’t hide your lamp’ and ‘let your light so shine’ and ‘we are to be planting seeds’ of kindness in people’s hearts to spread the Word of God’s law which is the law of love?
This is not something we make a schedule to do on ‘such and such’ a time at ‘such and such’ a day of the week. It is something that should come naturally on a day by day basis. This does not mean that we suddenly become ‘perfect’ and this is the way we will naturally live day to day. There will be days that we don’t live up to our ideals. So if we fall short of our ideals, this is wickedness, because we are not living to our full potential. But we are all wicked, because there is no one who is perfect and no one who truly does good, no not even one. That is the teaching of the Scripture. But we are to strive to live as loving a life as we may find within ourselves to do. We will have days that we feel terrible, and won’t do well at showing the love we should. Striving to live a life of love doesn’t mean going around being ‘bubbly and smiley’ when we don’t feel like it. That is not natural. Living a life of love means looking to the reserve of love within us as Christ, Who lives within, supplies us.
Suppose the day is very hot. You are outside working, getting sweaty and tired. You hit your thumb with the hammer. Living in this fleshly body (as Paul speaks of in Romans 7) you’re likely to become enraged and ‘fly off the handle’ so to speak. There may be many times in this earthly life that you don’t ‘feel’ very Christian, and with that throbbing thumb, you may well forget. Does the Lord not recognize our human weaknesses? So very often we may not be the witnesses we should be, but remember that being a witness doesn’t necessarily mean preaching at your friends; it means living a life that allows that light within you to shine for the world to see.
Those are some thoughts on verse 16 above. I had thoughts on the next two verses above as well, but that would make the post far too long. I think maybe the Holy Spirit is saying take these thoughts on verse 16 and then you can meditate further on how that shining lamp in verse 16 helps to enlighten the next two verses.