Watching a PBS show with my husband, I was struck with a thought. They were speaking of a history of very harsh coastal conditions off the coast of North Carolina that beached many a sailing vessel over the years. Then they mentioned the coastal rescue men and how they were “duty bound” to go out every time and rescue those they could, though it was often at great peril to themselves. I thought about that, how people took their work seriously back then and had a work ethic of doing the best they could at their jobs, no matter how seemingly insignificant the job. That is actually a Biblical principle, that of working with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not men because it is really God that we work for and not for men. And then I thought about some of the register workers recently that I’ve experienced that I had to interrupt their phone conversation to pay for my items. And I thought of the hospital workers at my dad’s hospital now and how I have to alert them and then remind them to do something important for my dad that should have been checked. Then I thought of the store workers I recently encountered that were more interested in telling me their problems than doing their job. And it struck me that the epidemic of leaving the Lord out of American public life has depleted the work ethic and sense of duty that made America such a great place. If you ask someone to do something they don’t want to do, some people quit or at least complain that they are being I’ll used, though they are being paid to do work not just socialize or play games on Facebook or their phone. And I remember how hard it was to hire help when I had my Audiology practice. The really good worker I had was an older lady and she was wonderful. The college students felt themselves misused if I asked them to do more than the minimum requirement of their hired position. So, what I suggest is that we Christ followers actually make it a point to work as if working for the Lord and not for men because we are really serving Him. Maybe we would stand out enough to be a light set on a hill or salt for the world wherever we are. Maybe we would inspire others to do the same?
People are bombarded with lies so much all around us, from marketing to entertainment to ungodly church staff to cults to governmental officials to neighbors to pretty much anyone trying to sell you something. It is dark, it is ugly. What is our response? Naivety? Absolutely not. We are knowledgeable as wolves, right? What’s the rest of that? Oh yes, we are to be as innocent as doves. We are to speak truth or not speak at all. We are to say “Yes” for yes and “No” for no without any other words or oaths added. We are to be pure and without reproach, innocent and honorable. We are to be loving and joyful, peaceful and patient, kind and good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. We are to be light and salt to this dark and tasteless world. The answers are always in the Book. How do we accomplish? We as Christ followers individually and then together with our churches must, imperatively and exactingly must stop sinning, repent of our sins humbly, start filling our lives with God’s Word and start one long prayer dialogue with God that only pauses for sleep. We must worship as a lifestyle and praise as a favorite hobby and give God and others more attention than we give ourselves. We must become less and God must become more and be lifted up. Our purity and holiness is in direct proportion to how important God’s holiness is in our lives. If we try to be as like Christ and not better than another sinner, we start living a higher standard of good. If we are reading our Bibles every chance we get, we give God a great way of speaking to us and filling us with His goodness so we will start reflecting Him in our lives. Not that we ever become good ourselves but that God’s goodness is reflected as much as possible. Truth must pour from our lips and lies must not. These are the practical things we all must do. It becomes more vital as we see the day approaching and know that greater trials will com. That way, we can rest in the knowledge and peace that we will have an end to sadness and trouble and persecution on the other side and our hope can be shared with others. It is imperative. You can do it! With God’s help, we can do anything.
If something is in stark contrast with something, it is the opposite. We Christ followers should be in stark contrast with the darkness of evil. We are lights and you can’t get much more opposite to darkness than that. We also are salt, which brings out the best in people, in contrast to evil bringing out the worst in people. We are also clay, which is moldable and becomes amazingly brilliant under fire, the opposite of imitation material that falls apart under extreme conditions. We are aliens in this world, just passing through to prove we don’t belong here, as opposed to those who do evil and feel right at home in an evil environment. We are sheep, as opposed to goats. It is profound the way Jesus Christ describes his people as these objects that are blatantly opposite evil’s actions in this world. Is that an accident? Nope! One common denominator is that every scenario He gave us, we are never alone and He is always there loving us and taking care of us. We who are His are no better than anyone else except that having Christ’s free gifts of salvation and the Holy Spirit, we sure are a million times better off in the long run and even now. Yes, the world sees us as crazy or ridiculous, but Jesus said that wisdom of the world is foolishness to Him and visa versa. When I am put down for my faith in Christ as my Savior, I feel proud that I did something right, happy that they noticed the difference, pleased that I took the opportunity to be contrasting and different. Maybe someone will want to be my loving, joyful, peaceful, gentle, kind, good, faithful, self-controlled kind of different too and be saved as a result. Who knows what good you can do when you get your contrast on!
We (Christ followers) give the world flavor and the ability to see. Jesus Christ said that we (His followers) are the salt of the world and the light of the world. That means that we have what the world needs. We have taste enhancers and light to see with in the form of our lives shining with the Holy Spirit who lives in us and teaches us how to shine and flavor the world. Our caution is to not lose our ability to flavor and not hide our light. So, as long as we keep doing what we are supposed to be doing, we will continue to help people see the truth and spice up their palate to enjoy fully our lives on this planet. Think about it, it is us who have the Holy Spirit in us, so we are carrying around in us love and joy, peace and patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. No wonder we are salt and light! These are the things people need most!! We have these tools! And we know how we got them, so we can hall other people get these valuable treasures too. We have to share. The beauty is that sharing these treasures actually gives you more than you had, both in this life and the one to come! We got the flavor, baby! We got the light! Live like you do!