Shinning Lights: How to influence the World of Jesus

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

Matthew 5:13-16  13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. [the purpose of the lamp is to give light] 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father  in heaven. [NIV]

There are two matter-of-fact statements in this passage: “You are the Salt” and “You are the light.” There is another allusion: you are like a “city on a hill” All the above statements indicate what God has already made his children to be, by His grace.

Both salt and light are two things that you will find in any community, whether poor or rich. They are basic necessities of life. They are needed in almost on a daily basis in every community. The same thing applies to you. Your ministry is essential for the betterment of this world. Neither salt nor light is made for its own sake. The purpose of light or salt is found in its usefulness. When it does what it was intended to do. Salt is invisible but its effects cannot be denied. In the same way, God called you so that you will be a blessing to others.

The church is both the church gathered and the church scattered. We gather to be equipped and scatter to serve and influence the world. The church was not called to be a ghetto sheltered from the realities of the world but to be a fearless influencer of the world.

Someone said something like this: “What you are is God’s gift to you; what you do with what you are is your gift to God”

Our salvation is seen by our good deeds. Jesus said that through our good deeds people will praise God the Father. There is always opportunity to do good.

Light also exposes whatever has been hidden in the darkness. When you shine light in a dark place, all roaches, rats and thieves start to run away. Similarly, when your light shines in some places, it will make some people uncomfortable. They may hate you, when you shine your light in the dark corners of corruption, or refuse to compromise your faith for the sake of a job, or good grades.

The gospel is never meant to be abstract. It is never meant to be just kept as a set of ideas. It expresses the love of God in practical and radical ways to those who least deserve that love. This is revealed in the scriptures in many ways.

Jesus ministered where needs were. He touched the lepers; ate with prostitutes, visited and sat in the homes of tax collectors and “sinners”, when necessary he healed on the Sabbath. He risked being called names—drunkard and friend of sinners. He did everything “wrong” according to the religious establishments of his day.

Who are the lepers of our day? Could they be young girls who sell their bodies for a living? Could they be the drunks in Banda and Acholi quarters [the slums in Kampala, where I live]? Could they be homosexuals? Are you willing, as a believer in Jesus Christ, to risk your reputation, and comfort to let your light shine for Jesus?

The story of a Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) is an example of God’s love in action. The question that the expert of the law asked—“Who is my neighbor?”— is still a valid one today. Jesus’ answer tells it all: Your neighbor is someone different from you—that person who everyone else calls names. You know how we call everyone who is not like us names. 

Salt is only useful when it is out of the saltshaker. Our work as Christians is not in the church but in the world. God sent us to “go and make disciples of all nations.” He blessed and commanded Man to “be fruitful and multiply.” God wants us to be involved in every sector of society.

Let your light shine!

 

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