“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” (Matthew 5:15)
The word of God repeatedly teaches us to serve as the light for the world. “You are the light of the world,” says Jesus to His disciples, and “I am the light of the world,” He says of Himself. Apostle Paul likens his brothers in Christ to the “lights of the world” (Philippians 2:15).
However, this general rule is more precisely and clearly stated in the above-mentioned text: “and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Our first and most important obligations pertain to our closest brothers, to our family, and we must first shine upon them.
People often shy away from such small activities, which they consider too trivial and insignificant. They seek glory and brilliance. They want to be lighthouses shining far into the sea of life, or bright beacons saving legions of dying brothers. They despise the humble fate of a lamp that burns in a squalid corner and illuminates a poor laborer with its weak light. They are wrong when they neglect this weak light, though. Is the Helping Hand, which is stretched out imperceptibly to our smaller brethren, or is the word of consolation spoken at the dying man’s side, which illuminates his earthly sufferings with the last beam of light, not worth all the loud glory they are after?
For many, the fruits of the Christian faith should be dispensed far beyond the family circle. Meanwhile, it is within the family that we find their true application.
Remember that, despite her worldly concerns, Martha also came to Jesus’s feet, while Mary was already listening to Him.
Everyone should find ways to apply those Christian virtues that characterize a good family man, a loving mother, and obedient children, in his or her immediate circle, however modest it may be. They make family life more enjoyable by smoothing out all the irregularities of the earthly path and by shedding the bright light that “shines upon everyone in the house” all around them. It provides warmth for everyone, because its source is love, which comes from God Himself.
From Day after Day, a book written by an unknown Orthodox priest and published in 1908 for the first time.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds