Little Green Book

March 3, 1999
by Michael Steckel

Matthew 5:14-15 – 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. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (NIV)

About five years ago I was travelling a lot for work. When I was on those trips I used to enjoy reading a great deal, so one day I walked into a Waldens in town and started to look for a book. I went to the religion section and there I found a simple little green paperback called The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book has had a very strong impact on my life. In this book, Bonhoeffer talks about cheap grace and costly grace. Cheap grace, he explains, is the grace we bestow on ourselves, the Christian life without discipleship. Costly grace is the gospel that must be sought again and again. It is costly because it cost a Man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. What really impressed me was that Bonhoeffer lived by this. He was a Lutheran pastor in World War II and spoke openly against the Nazi regime. He was arrested and finally executed. This had a strong impact on my Christian life. I was only existing in my Christian life, which consisted in just going to church and sitting there. I found that I needed to start to live instead of just existing. To live means to grow and interact with the world. If one is the light of the world then that light cannot be hidden. The lamp is not to be lit and then put under a bowl, but instead it is to give light to the house. Doing this involves action. For example, furniture exists in my home. It just occupies space. It does not grow and it does not interact with me. At the same time, my family is living in my home. My wife and son and I grow and we have interaction. In much same way, I understand that I must live in the Word. I must grow and have interaction with it. My light is not to be hidden under a bowl, but it must give light to all in the house. Through my discipleship, others may see this light in me and know Christ through my actions.

Prayer: Lord, we give you thanks for the grace you have given us. We thank you for the tools you have given us in the development of our Christian lives so that we may serve you and glorify you. May our light so shine before men that they may see our good deeds and praise you in heaven. Amen.

About the author:

Michael Steckel
Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

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