If you ever visit a small city in Asia, there is a good chance you’ll be one of a handful of foreigners in the whole city. This fact will draw a lot of attention to you when walking around town, grocery shopping, riding the bus, eating out, or basically going anywhere. All eyes are on you as you walk into a store, and if you study the language long enough, your ears begin to pick up on locals whispering, and sometimes outright yelling, “Look a foreigner!” After a while this daily staring contest becomes frustrating. You find yourself wishing you could just blend in. But the reality is, it’s impossible. You’ll always stand out in a foreign country and people will always gravitate towards you.

After a time, as I experienced this myself, the passage in Matthew 5 took on a whole new meaning: “You are the light of the world. A town built 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.”

When I walk through a small city in Asia, it’s as if I literally carry a lighted torch or a flashlight that everyone sees! With this realization came the weight of knowing that I might likely be one of the only believers a person in my city would ever meet or see. This encouraged me to truly enter every day as an opportunity to be a light in a dark place, to be an example of God’s love in all circumstances, and to embrace standing out.

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