1 Kings 17:7-16; Matthew 5:13-16
Today’s readings truly show us God’s goodness. The story of Elijah and the widow is sort of the Old Testament’s version of the loaves and the fishes with God ensuring that the just do not go hungry. The Gospel reading contains one of my favorite passages about putting lights on top of bushel baskets rather than underneath them so that the light will shine.
All of that is easy to understand and in principle I suspect all of us easily agree with it. But to me the hard part has always been how to act and respond when things aren’t going as well. It’s easy to put your light on top of a bushel basket (or a mountain for that matter) when you’re feeling on top of the world. But the harder part is managing it when things aren’t going as well. Perhaps one is facing an illness, the illness of a close relative or a personal struggle. Now it’s not so easy to be light for the rest of the world.
I don’t think God expects us to act exactly the same way when we’re facing personal struggles, however. It’s all well and good to put on a brave face, but it’s perfectly OK to lean on God, loved ones and others when things aren’t going as well. That’s not the same thing as turning your back on God and being angry because things aren’t going well. But if you are light to others when you’re able, then you’re entitled to let others be light for you when it’s dark.
By Patrick Borchers