I’m hurrying down the sidewalk, stressed out. The subway is still 100 meters away. It is 4:00 p.m., and I’m on my way home. Crowds of people are streaming down to the station.
Clearly, I am not the only one trying to get home. An observant passerby would probably see me as slightly irritated or, at the very best, determined and concentrated, as I push my way hurriedly through the crowd. But what do I care? I’m just on my way home.
The green man flashes, and I cross the street. Then, in the shadow of a canopy of trees, I see a familiar face lit up in a smile. We exchange greetings and wish each other a good day before I hurry on again to catch my train.
What did I just experience?
The train pulls out of the station. Seated in one of the train’s many red cars, I have lots of time to think. What did I just experience? Why do some people “shine” so clearly? I wonder why some people always have a smile ready when others need it. What is it that means some people have so much to give?
I have known people who have had much to bear—people who have been struck by illness, suddenly and unexpectedly. People who died at a young age, much too young by human reckoning. I know people who could have many reasons to become bitter, introverted, or depressed. How do these people still manage to give me something? I have everything I need. I am healthy, young, and I live in a country where I can accomplish practically anything I want. I have my life and future ahead of me. Why do these people have so much to give?
Who gives you something?
I believe I know the reason. I believe it is because they have become followers of Jesus. His disciples. They believe that everything that happens to them works together for their best (Rom. 8:28). They don’t look at things from the narrow perspective of a day, a week, a month, or even a year, but from the perspective of eternity. They have come to know Jesus as the bridegroom of their souls—Someone who cares for them. So they also want to live a life that He can be enthusiastic about. How? By no longer living for themselves, and instead doing God’s will here on earth, just as it is done in heaven.
Is this a life worth living? Jesus asks us to be a light in the world. Do you know people like this? People who radiate something heavenly—people who are a light for you? Who give you something that you want to lay hold of in your own life?
I certainly know people like that—and by God’s grace I also have a longing to live that kind of life. My hope is that something will also radiate from me, so that the passer-by who only saw a stressed-out student last time will next time sense some of that drawing power that I also felt. Then I can also have something to give.