The Beauty of Light

“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

“they will see your good works…” People aren’t impressed by our knowledge or what we say, people are drawn to God by our good works.”


I have a second home that I use for a ‘summer retreat house’ for those that want to come and spend time with God in prayer, study and meditation. It sits in the middle of a field with a few other homes around. It is not ostentatious, big and showy, or large and elegant. It really is not the kind of home that I ever dreamed of or even wanted. By some standards and even my own it would not even be considered a home. But, it is! It is a house to meet with God. Therefore, I feel a very strong responsibility to keep it as clean inside and out as I possibly can with the help or I should say the “good works” of others. Our good works will bring honor and glory to God; and when we honor Him, He always honors us. He will continue to pour out His abundant blessings in every area of our lives and those we serve and love.

In the past ten years I have had the awesome responsibility to take a group to this “retreat house” to work in preparation for retreats that truly without any doubt lets their light shine before others that they do see their good works and? Well, here is my dilemma. I think all people should love beauty and exactness. I think all should love God’s earth and the fulness thereof. He created the heavens and the earth for His pleasures and our pleasures. But, when I arrive at this location I realize all people do not love what I love! We go to work cleaning, cutting grass, trimming trees, planting more trees, flowers and doing yard work to make a man’s face shine like a fine cut beveled edged mirror.
WHOA! I am waiting for what I think should happen. “How lovely! Thank you for bringing beauty to our community, my life and the life of my family.” Or, a pleasant nod of the head would work when we drive and walk by. But, it is the very opposite. Language pursues that I don’t think is appropriate for the ears of any that have been created by God and we all have. Music of content and loudness is out of order for any community ordinances, or so I think. And ‘junk yard sights’ are his idea of beauty I assume from his good works that glorify his father. Now, I don’t recall ever having any conversation with this man because he makes sure of that, he runs when he sees me coming.
But, in the past he has called my brother, his neighbor, to complain about my leaving the tree branches on the side of the road to be picked-up as I have been instructed to do by the laws of the land. They picked them up very timely. The community and the workers that one calls for the pick-up and I pay my taxes and utilities to could not be more beautiful people to do business with anywhere in the world. But, this one man makes life miserable even when I go praying, “Heavenly Father, thank You for trusting us with this responsibility and to represent you in the earth in this area. Show us how to reflect Your goodness to this neighbor and community. Use us for Your glory.”

Just recently our team of workers had worked and made things look nicer than I had seen for years around that area. We had also purchased yard equipment, other items for inside and out from the merchants in the area. I wanted to spend our money in this community to help the economy, even, if our money is small by some standards we hope and pray that God will increase it in the community. We had finished a long day’s work. Some had returned to their hotel in a near-by community and it was time for my little household to take their rest when ‘bang bang bang’ goes someone at the door in the pitch dark of the night. My friend and co-worker as well as myself lost all our faith and trust in God and stood in horror. Finally, after what seemed like hours we, she or me, who knows responded, “Yes, and we heard a voice say, “Sheriff’s office!” And, I said, thought, dreamed, who knows what, sheriff!” My friend, thought, that our other coworkers had been in a terrible accident while driving back to the hotel. Then we heard “your neighbor called to complain that you put tree clippings in front of his property.” We had put a very neat stockpile of tree clippings in front of our house on the state/county side of the ditch in the exact perfect place that we had been instructed by the state to do. We make a call and they come within days to pick up. Now the first thing that came to my mind was not good but truth about him and his yard and his way of living. But, I held my tongue and explained our desire to beautify our surroundings for the beauty of the community. Then we knew that they knew and we all knew that weeds do grow in gardens and what does one do?
Trying to find rest with the Lord in the night I quoted my famous saying, “feelings are not the same as facts.”
What were my feelings, go and junk my yard and driveway with so much trash and junk that it just might please them……!!!!! What were and are and will always be the facts? “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Did you notice God did not place a
watch or stopwatch in this command to me. No, God gave me a command with a may in it for others but I know the fruit of this command is a rich reward for me and my family, and the family of God.
Always remember “feelings are not facts.” Facts are the Word of God and His Word in situations like this are “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

PS When I arrived back home we saw a colorful festive box at my front door and I heard from our car, “look someone has left you a beautiful bag at your door.” Well, someone had, the mail carrier. I had received beautiful gifts from two of the most beautiful women and mothers in the whole world and they are right from the area we had just left. I found stunning lovely perfect hats just for me with cards from their sons and my buddies. I heard Our Father say “hats off to you, My Beloved Children.”


9 thoughts on “The Beauty of Light”

  1. There are so many wonderful lessons in this blog to learn from.
    This verse from the hymn “Holy, Holy Holy’ confirms your ‘watch/stopwatch’ above of may or may not see.
    “Holy, Holy, Holy, though the darkness hide Thee, though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see…”
    Though the man did not see God’s beauty, God sees all. And those two beautiful women that sent the hats were seeing beauty, thinking beauty and had a heart for beauty as well. They were worshipping Him in the beauty of holiness. (Ps 29:2) Their seeing act/gift of beautification from the very geographical area where another could/did not want to not see the beauty of God , flowed in God’s Spirit to confirm that He is the all seeing God…making an unbroken circle of beauty.

  2. God’s time-ing is always PERFECT!

    Lord, Your Word has told us to love others, as I read in I Corinthians 13, but I have to admit that some times it isn’t easy. Please forgive us, and help us to see others, as you see them. I ask that You help this neighbor to see the love that You have for him. Lord, help Sara to continue to be a witness of Your grace, mercy, peace, and love, by beautifying your land and home that You have so graciously provided for her. Thank you, for the opportunity to provide love where there is hatred, peace where there is discord, mercy where there is none, and beauty where there is ugliness.

  3. This incident reads like a biblical account of something like Jesus would have encountered in the Gospels. It reminds me of the phrase, ‘Woe to them who call beatiful that which is ugly and ugly that which is beautiful.”
    Sara’s ministry of BEAUTY and exactness is her commission from the Lord and she does spread that loveliness wherever she sets her foot.
    There is a book by Joseph Stowell, entitled, “Why It’s Hard to Love Jesus. And I believe one of the biggest reasons is that it requires WORK(S). Jesus said that His Father works and He must work. And so, as Sara preaches and teaches, in order to let your light so shine before men, it requires “work.”

  4. Work, it was. We had pruned back last year and the drive to the house was overgrown. Pruning back causes lots of growth. Wow! All the trees had taken on new growth and needed the pruning hand of the expert horticulturist who hoisted a chain saw and even one above her head to rejuvenate the beauty that each one held within. I loved riding the John Deere lawn mower and prayed for the ones who worked inside as the out of doors was a holiday of freedom unleashed. I zipped across the yard and driveway mowing down weed and grass alike. I then loaded the John Deere cart and which I loaded and unloaded with pruned branches and moldy leaves placing them by the curb. We also unloaded red mulch by the wheel barrows full and encircled the mulch around the lovely retreat home, kind of like spiritually encircling it with the blood of Jesus for our awesome retreat to meet with God. We got a bit messy, maybe more than a bit, we were almost unrecognizable but that didn’t matter the retreat house stands ready for our greatest guest, God. “Come by here Lord, we invite you, we want you to come by here and talk with us for awhile. Come by here, we want to sing of your praises and dance a step or two because you are worthy of all our praise.” We may have gotten dirty in the process but the dirt all came out in the wash, and we have beauty and exactness for God as anyone can see as they make that journey to the little retreat house in the field, standing ready for its guests to meet with Him. Lord may you bring that man who doesn’t know you into the House of the Lord someday. I thought of hitting him over the head with my bible if he broke in, but that of course is not your way. Just modeling when all despise you is hard, JESUS our savior is our model of that. Thank you Jesus.

  5. ‘Heaven’s gate is open wide for all those who WOULD come inside and abide in the Lord’….that is what the large two panel gate that DJ spent many hours (and coats) painting a sunny yellow seemed to be saying. And oh Needles that your heartfelt prayer for this neighbor would be answered that he could enter into God’s rest and peace throught the Lord Jesus.
    As Rena raked and raked and picked up armful after armful of plant debris (and prickly holly bushes), never slowing down until the job was done, I knew her goal was to ‘prepare the way of the Lord.’ No bugs or ticks stopped her from getting the fence post in either…I just picked one off her back and she kept right on focused on the job at hand.
    Sara believes in work and that the more you do, the more work your given to do. And when we see work as an honor, blessing and reward it can change our lives and the lives of others. We have come to see through her example that this is how God meets us because it takes work to make beauty and exactness happen. God likes to put His feet in a glorious place. Isaiah 60:13 tells us that He takes cypress, pine and box trees to ‘beautify the place of His sanctuary. I think if we can help others to see and understand and engage in these principles that God’s glory and kingdom can spread and increase. I’m sure the devil doesn’t want this to happen so there is also opposition when one tries to beautify and bless others.

  6. “For of those to whom much is given, much is required” Luke 12;48

    Jesus said it, God inspired it, Luke recorded it , John Firzgerald Kennedy quoted it and we are to live it.

    President Kennedy also said….“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”

    God gave us all beautiful gifts and all gifts from God are very beautiful. When they are used in the light of obedience to God they shine with brilliant rays of hope. Kennedy also said “One person can make a difference and every person should try.”

    “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

    Aren’t we so thankful that we know the one that spoke all the wisdom the world could and will ever need ? And we can quote it and we can live it. We can be wisdom artist with our lives and we are. Happy are you today that know Jesus as your Lord and Savior and even more happy are you if you obey His commands.

  7. I stand in awe of the amazing gifts and talents and skills AND STRENGTH of God’s people projected through this team. Gary said our goal would be to “meet with God” and my beautiful sisters-in-Christ prepared the way of a sacntuary and a tabernacle which would have a glory cloud by day and a pillar of Holy Spirit GLOW by night. The tabernacle of the Lord in one’s back yard should be an overwhelmingly convicting presence. Those who have ” made a way in the wilderness” pray for those who are still in the “wilds.”

  8. In relation to the issue above I read this in the Book of Proverbs, 11:12….
    “He that is void of wisdom, despises and makes trouble for his neighbor but men of understanding and knowledge hold their peace.”

  9. “WISE”: Properly having knowledge: having the power of discerning and judging correctly, or of discriminatingly between what is true and what is false. The discrete use or application of knowledge.

    Hebrew “WISE”: To be wise in mind, word, or act. Note: Knowledge + Understanding = Wisdom (Proverbs 2:6)

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