“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.” – Matthew 5:14-15
Can you imagine what the world would be like if you had never been born? Neither could George Bailey, the main character in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, until his guardian angel Clarence took him on a journey back through George’s lifetime, except without George – who had never been born.
Recently I was facilitating a team-building workshop for a group of young leaders, and one of the exercises required that each participant be evaluated by his or her peers as a group, and without exception the peer group viewed each individual teammate as much more valuable to the team than the individual perceived him or herself to be.
“O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!” the great Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) wrote in his classic poem “To a Louse”. Or translated into modern English, “Oh, that God the gift would give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”
Like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, or the participants I observed recently in the team-building workshop, most of us tend to perceive ourselves as much less significant than we really are. But what if we could see ourselves as others see us? George Bailey was given a gift to be able to see his life through the eyes of Clarence his guardian angel – or as it were, what life would have been like had he never been born. Likewise, the young leadership group received the gift of seeing themselves through the eyes of their peers.
We all are much more valuable than we perceive ourselves to be. After all, God created each of us in his own image, and that very fact empowers us to do great and wonderful things. So as you embark on this new year, may you see yourself as others see you, or better yet as God sees you, so not to underestimate the impact you have on others; for you are the light of the world. Do not hide it, but let it shine forth for others to see.