Jesus once said to let our light shine before men, and you really see Paul’s light shining through in this passage.
At a time when everyone on the ship he was sailing on had lost hope because of the storm, Paul brought hope. He told them,
But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. (22-25)
Later, with things still dark, and the men still discouraged, he told them,
For the last fourteen days…you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food–you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head. (33-34)
He then broke bread, gave thanks to God, and ate. By doing so, he gave the men in the boat hope, and they ate too.
That’s part of what it means to be light. To give hope to the hopeless. So many people in this world are without hope because of their circumstances. But in Jesus, we have the source of hope, and as he shines through us, it gives hope to those around us.
But Paul was light in another way. By his words and his life, he encouraged people to do what was right.
We see this first when some of the sailors were planning to sneak off of the ship without the prisoners and leave them all to die. But Paul warned them,
Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved. (31)
And so they let the lifeboat go.
Then, after the ship had run aground, the soldiers planned to kill the prisoners lest they escape. But because of the light that Paul had been, the centurion in charge refused to give them permission to do so, and in the end, all were saved.
In the same way, being light means showing people what it means to live right, both through our words and through our lives. And as people see our lives, it should inspire them to do what is right as well.
How about you? Are you light to those around you?