So, I'm walking down a busy sidewalk, and the thought hits me: I wonder which of these people are Christians? How can I tell? It's not a really strategic question, but shouldn't there be something different about us? “Let your light shine” and all that?
Muslims, Buddhist monks, skinheads, all have pretty visible distinguishing features.
Maybe Christians should have a dress code? Ill-fitting dark suit, white shirt with a skinny tie, or a long dark non-revealing dress for the womenfolk?
How about a halo? That would be a good identifying mark.
Or how about a t-shirt that says it all--”I'm a blood-bought, sanctified, conservative evangelical Christian. You should be too, or you're headed for hell”. Now that should bring everyone to their knees in repentance. I'm being more than a bit facetious, in case you didn't notice.
No, the rest of the 'Let your light shine' verse says 'so they will see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven'. As I was still walking down the sidewalk contemplating this whole idea, I saw a much better message on a t-shirt: “My t-shirt likes your t-shirt”. That starts getting to the heart of good works—truly liking people. Choosing for their higher good instead of your own is a good start to actually making a difference.
It seems so easy just to think about myself, doing what will get me ahead in the rat race. You see it everywhere. (Now it's time for my rant.) No common courtesy, no thought of how my actions affect someone else. Walking (or biking or driving) like I own the whole sidewalk, and the street as well. Carrying on my phone conversations as if everyone else wanted to hear about my ongoing relationship problems. Making everyone else 'enjoy' my taste in music.
Chances are, if we as followers of Christ started being more Christ-like—well, What a Wonderful World it Would Be! At least the little chunk of the universe right around us. In other words:
John 13:35 This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other." Not just love for others who believe as you do, but love for everyone.
Try it sometime! Then you won't have to go out and buy the “I'm a blood-bought...” t-shirt.