Sharing Our Faith Together

A Methodist Way of Life - Commitment 11:  We will live in a way that draws others to Jesus

by Rev Jacky Quarmby 15 July 2022

Reading:  Matthew 5:  13 – 16

Methodists have long been persuaded that good works are a necessary outworking of our Christian faith.  It is not that Methodists believe that we are saved by our works - rather  that good works are a sign that God is working in our lives through the Holy Spirit.  As Jesus says in Matthew 7: 16, “You will know them by their fruits.” 

Moreover, our good works may draw others to Jesus.  In our passage Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).  Our witness for Christ and our hope of sharing our faith are strengthened when preceded by good works.  

Seeking to live in a way that draws others to Jesus, that is, reflecting something of God’s goodness and glory in the world is what it means to be a Christian. But what an awesome responsibility that is.  Many of us may feel that we are unable to meet that lofty ideal, we may think to ourselves: ‘What could I possibly do that would draw anyone to Jesus?’ 

Here are a few thoughts that might be helpful.  Firstly, we’re not called to change the whole world, just our part of it. If at the end of the day we can look back and say to ourselves, “this part of the world in which I live is a better place today because I have been in it,” then we have achieved something.  It may be that we have made a donation to a worthy cause, or bought some shopping for a neighbour, or phoned a friend or simply said something appreciative to a shopworker.  If we have contributed to the sum total of goodness and kindness in the world then we have brought glory to God.

Secondly, we’re not called to sinless perfection but to Christlike reflection. In other words, our task is not to try to be perfect. Our task is to try to imitate Jesus. A few years ago, there was a trend of wearing rubber bracelets with the letters WWJD printed on them.  They were intended to remind those wearing them to think “What would Jesus do?”, whenever they were asked to make a choice about what to say, what to do and how to behave in any given situation. Whether we wear a bracelet or not, to think “What would Jesus do?” when confronted by a choice we have to make, is a good habit to get into if we want to become more like Jesus.

And thirdly, falling short is not the end of the world. The Bible is full of flawed characters who were, nonetheless, used by God. (King David in the Old Testament and the Apostle Peter in the New Testament are prime examples.) What they have in common however, is that they still hold on to God even after they’ve failed spectacularly. Our failure is not big enough to derail God’s plans. We can always turn back to God and start again, calling on the power of the Holy Spirit to help us to do better next time. To live in a way that draws others to Jesus when our own life has problems and challenges of its own is a wonderful demonstration of a living faith. 

I want to finish with the words of a song that I remember as a child, “Jesus bids us shine”, which seems to sum everything up very simply.

Jesus bids us shine
With a pure, clear light,
Like a little candle
Burning in the night.
In this world of darkness
So let us shine
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine,
First of all for Him;
Well He sees and knows it,
If our light grows dim.
He looks down from Heaven
To see us shine
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine,
Then, for all around;
Many kinds of darkness
In the world are found
Sin and want and sorrow;
So we must shine
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Song:  Jesus bids us shine

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Faithful God,
you have called us to be a light shining in the world.
Help us to reflect the light of Christ,
so that people see your love and goodness in our words and actions.
We ask this through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen