Let Your Light Shine!
Good News Magazine
September 1981
Volume: Vol XXVIII, No. 8
Issue: ISSN 0432-0816
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Let Your Light Shine!
Clayton D Steep  

   "Never again!" the weary motel owner grumbled. "Never again will I let those people in my motel!"
   Making little effort to hide his bitterness, he went on: "And they call themselves ' religious.'
   "Here for a convention,' they said. What a mess they've left! They preach against smoking and drinking, yet they've scattered cigarette butts and liquor bottles all over the place. And I've heard them use profanity, too!"
   He stood there shaking his head sadly.
   The actions of the members of this well-known religious denomination of the world had preached more loudly to the unfortunate motel owner and his staff than all the tracts and pamphlets they distribute in great abundance. There is something we in God's Church can learn from this.
   The Feast is unique. Members of the Church of God are on public display individually and as groups at Feast time as they are at no other time of the year.
   Who are we? What do we really stand for? Do we really believe what we preach? What are the results of the way we proclaim? Happiness? Sincerity? Courtesy? Concern ? Or poor behavior, sour personalities and selfishness?
   People wonder. Many of them have heard The World Tomorrow broadcast or seen The Plain Truth, or they are aware of Ambassador College or the name "Worldwide Church of God." "What kind of people are these?" they may have asked. At Feast time some of them will have a chance to see.
   Others have never heard of us before. But they, too, will see our example. When they find out we belong to God's Church, they will judge our God by what they see in us.
   In airports, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, taxis, travel agencies, unfamiliar stores and shops — at Feast time we will find ourselves in environments we are not used to, perhaps encountering languages and customs strange to our way of doing things. Our light will be seen by cross sections of society in all probability totally different from those we come in contact with the rest of the year.
   Nevertheless, wherever we deal with people we will be dealing with potential members of God's Family — people who someday will be keeping the Feast just as we are. We must show them how good God's ways are. We never know when our example will lead someone else to the truth — or, on the other hand, drive him from it!
   "Ye are the light of the world.... Let your light so shine before men [why?], that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16).
   "Be aglow with the Spirit" is the way the apostle Paul expressed it (Rom. 12:11, Revised Standard Version).
   When it is appropriate, we should let others know we are traveling to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. We don't have to call undue attention to it, but neither does our explanation always have to be "We're going to a church convention" or "We're on a part-business, part-pleasure trip" or something similarly vague.
   Our speech should be "seasoned with salt" (Col. 4:6). "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Pet. 3:15).
   Letting our light shine and being a good example to those in the world as well as to other brethren! — is a great responsibility.
   As part of preparing for the Feast, here are some reminders of ways in which we can resolve to set the kind of example God wants us to set:
    Motels and hotels. Courtesy and promptness in paying bills are important. While we aren't expected to leave the rooms exactly as they were when we arrived (after all, we will have slept in the beds and used the towels and washcloths), still we should not leave the rooms a mess either.
   During our stay we should be careful not to disturb others with loud partying, television or radios. And if we have a quantity of beer or liquor bottles to dispose of, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to dump them in a trash can outside rather than leave them in the rooms.
    Transportation. An extra amount of kindness and patience is often needed while traveling. Planes, trains and buses can be late. There may be long lines to wait in. And when all is said and done, we may not get the seat we requested next to the window.
   Long trips may be fatiguing, and it is very easy to become irritated and short tempered. A trip is an excellent opportunity to exercise our ability to "pray always."
   There is a special need to be on guard when driving. If Jesus Christ were to get into a car or truck and drive to the Feast today, He would follow the rules of safety and the highway laws.
    Restaurants. Make the meal pleasant for those with you and for those at other tables, as well as for the often worn out waiter or waitress who serves you. If he or she does an excellent job and you have the festival tithe available, leave an excellent tip.
   And don't make a scene about butter versus margarine, or the color of flour or sugar. There are ways to quietly avoid the wrong foods without calling attention to what you are doing.
    Other public places. Once again, courtesy is the rule. "Be courteous" is the way the King James Version' translates 1 Peter 3:8. It really is a question of keeping the second great commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself' (Matt. 22:39). So show others the way of give in action.
    Dress and grooming. Appearance is important at Feast time when we assemble in God's presence. Especially during services, we should try to look our best. Our appearance says something to the outside world. And it says something to God: It says we respect Him and His ways.
    Helping others. Be aware of the widows, the fatherless and those who are alone. Include them in your Feast activities. The world tomorrow will be a time of helping others. We should practice helping others at the Feast.
   Announcements may be made asking for volunteers to set up or take down chairs, direct traffic, provide transportation and accept numerous other opportunities to help. Don't let "someone else" do all the helping. That's not the spirit of the world tomorrow.
    Eating and drinking. God tells us to rejoice before Him with good food and drink — even strong drink. But He does not give us any excuse for gluttony or drunkenness. In fact, we must be especially careful with alcoholic drinks because it is possible to stay within our own limits and still sin by offending someone else.
   We in God's Church understand that alcoholic beverages can be properly used and enjoyed. Therefore, we have a freedom others may not have.
   "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak" (I Cor. 8:9).
   This principle, given by the apostle Paul concerning the eating of meats, applies equally well to the use of alcoholic drinks. Great care should be taken that their use does not offend anyone else.
   Also, be considerate of any brother or sister who abstains because of health or other reasons. Don't tempt him or her. And when you are pouring the drinks, don't keep filling someone else's glass.
   "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also" (Hab. 2:15).
   Let the other person make his own decision as to how much he wants. Rejoice at the Feast, but remember: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God" (I Cor. 10:31-32).
   Let's keep the Feast in the spirit of the world tomorrow!

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Good News MagazineSeptember 1981Vol XXVIII, No. 8ISSN 0432-0816