/Tuesday, January 11, 2022
One of the first things Jesus taught those who wanted to follow Him is how to think missionally.
Salt of the Earth
He said we are the salt of the earth, meaning we are to act as salt in our ungodly world. Through us the people around us are to taste His presence.
Even if they cannot see us, they ought to perceive something of Him through our words and actions, and what we say and do ought to make a difference for the better.
But that only happens when we interact rightly with non-Christians. Christians who don’t speak of Him, don’t act like Him and don’t pray for the unsaved don’t have the effect of making things better. They are like salt still in a saltshaker (making no difference at all).
Just as bad, too much salt on our food ruins what was meant to be helpful and nutritious. It makes it all most distasteful. To that latter point Esau McCaulley recently posted, “Believing in salvation by grace doesn’t benefit the people near us if our harshness and legalism on social media and interpersonal interactions reveal that the graciousness God showed us has not born fruit in how we treat others.” Jesus doesn’t want that for us.
Light of the World
He continues, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Salt is hidden in the earth and the sea, and it must be bought to the table through significant effort.
But light needs no mining or processing. By nature, it cannot help but flood the landscape and illume all. Indeed (apart from man-made lasers), light is always diffused. It spreads out in every direction, and even a ‘beam’ of light created by the sun shining through clouds is seen far outside that which is directly below.
Light is meant to provide sight, and it is meant to provide sight to all who see. Likewise, a city on a hill is built that way so that its citizens can see far beyond its walls, and so that those who look for it can find it easily. It can even be used as a landmark for travelers who pass by. A city on a hill is not only NOT hidden, but also impossible to hide.
That is Jesus’ point, that trying to hide the light would be completely counterproductive, “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. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
A Life in the Open
The Christ-life is not a life meant to be hidden. It is a life meant to be lived in the open.
A life meant to be seen by all so that the light of God in us might be clearly visible to everyone -- not only those we intentionally interact with, and not only those we encounter by circumstance, and not only by all who so much as glance in our general direction, but by everyone in the vicinity of our lives.
When a Christian is present in a society, everyone should know that the kingdom of heaven is nearby, and that the gospel is accessible.
In Our Current Day…
In ancient societies, everyone knew everyone else. Partly that was on account of the nature of small towns and on account of the lack of any kind of mass media.
In our present day the great majority of people live in cities, and most live isolated lives with almost all of their attention consumed by mass media.
Those living ‘within sight’ are no longer those nearby by distance, but those nearby by influence. That doesn’t change who we are, it just changes who ‘sees’ us. In many cases, that group includes those living far away. In fact, on account of the nature of modern media, those living outside our timelines may yet see the videos we make and read the emails and posts we write. Through this content, they too may see and taste something of God.
That fact alone tells us that if the people Christ spoke to in the Sermon on the Mount could be salt and light, we can be much more so. But only if we act like salt is meant to be used, and only if the light of God shines from our lives and so blesses others.
And that all starts when we begin to think missionally. When we begin to think more about how others will perceive God in us than we think about ourselves and what we want to accomplish.
Rev. Marcus Verbrugge and his wife reside in Ontario. Prior to working in full time ministry, Marcus was in the business community where he led a number of business startups. Past service included NFP board work, short-term mission leadership, founding a prayerwalking ministry, KingdomLink (a mission mobilization ministry) and the Transform! Prayer Course (a prayer mobilization tool). Marcus is also the author of, “Beginning – Growing in Prayer through Genesis” and a Kairos head facilitator.
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