Recently someone was criticizing the Christian Church as a waste of resources, serving no visible purpose. The observation made me think about our mission in this world. The church doesn’t always get it right, sometimes does lose her way when flawed human beings forget God. But, it isn’t all that difficult to imagine what kind of world it would be without the persistent influence for good that comes from people and places that are committed to the love of the Lord. Evil is always lurking and where it is without restraint, terrible suffering follows.
Jesus described the functional nature of His church this way: “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. “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.” (Matthew 5:13-15, NIV) In the ancient world salt was a critical preservative ingredient for food supplies. Just a little salt prevented decay. In the dark of night, even a tiny light makes a big difference.
Christ’s church ‘salts’ the world with love that pushes back hatred, with pursuit of justice that defends the weak, with hope that replaces despair! Do Christians do those things perfectly? I wish! Churches get corrupt, Christians lose their ‘saltiness.’ And yet, even with the awful chapters of Christian history (about which we must be honest), we simply cannot imagine what the world would be apart from the message of Jesus.
Want to be a salty Christian?
- Be a person of prayer, regularly tuning your heart to the voice of the Spirit, lifting your vision to eternal perspectives.
- Be a person of wisdom, drawing on the Spirit to demonstrate a life of principle, being able to offer solid counsel.
- Be a person of compassion who sees need and liberally offers support to those who fall on hard times.
- Be a hopeful person, who knows that this life is short, but whose true life is anchored in the salvation of Christ Jesus.
Pray that there will be such a measurable influence, such a quality of life in you, that others will say ‘thank God’ when they think of you. I believe that is Jesus meant when He says, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden… let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14,16, NLT)
If we are filled with the Spirit, overflowing with ‘living water’ we won’t have to announce our good works or demand recognition in order to have the influence God desires. We will be content to do the work He’s called us to do; quietly, persistently, and effectively.
Here’s a word from the Word. God help us to receive it, believe it, and live it.
” In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. … I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere.” (Ephesians 4:1, The Message)
“I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd.” (Ephesians 4:17, The Message) “
Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside.” (Ephesians 4:22-23, The Message) “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.” (Ephesians 5:1, The Message)
(He is! And He empowers you.)
And the world was born
Life begins and ends
In the dust You formed
And the mountains moved
Fear is losing ground
To our hope in You
Let Your glory go on and on
In Your name they shall be done (oh)
All our chains undone
Jesus has overcome
When the third day dawned
Darkness was denied
When the stone was gone
Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns unstoppable
We’ll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable
Chris Brown | Steven Furtick | Wade Joye © 2014 Be Essential Songs (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) CCLI License # 810055