By Howard Green
In the course of our day to day activities, we come into contact with many people. At first glance, people seem to be okay as they go about their business. They may look happy, content, busy, nervous, or simply have an expressionless face at the moment. Looks are often deceiving and if we could see below the surface, beyond the smiles, blank stares, and the automatic, *I am fine* I believe we would be shocked by what we had discover. Let us look beyond the facade and into the lives of hurting lost people all around us because we are salt and light in the darkness.
Luke 14:21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame. And the servant said, Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room. And the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.
I have to admit that I get caught up in the business of daily life like family and work. Those are good things and then there are the activities we consider to be for the Lord such as daily devotions, church, perhaps small group, and even ministry. In the course of our busyness, we need to remember that we are not here to live for ourselves. Our devotion to the Lord is not a task-oriented list to be checked off only on Sundays or when we have finished reading our Bible in the morning. We are here for His glory and that should be reflected in everything we do.
We go into stores and the cashier or salesperson completes our sale. We dine in restaurants and a server brings our meal. We have technicians come into our home to make repairs. We are surrounded by people on the campus, in the office, and in our neighborhood. The point is that many of these people do not know Jesus. They could be hurting and hopeless inside. They might be filled with worry, depressed, or in desperate cases, be contemplating suicide. They might have never heard the good news explained and may be on their way to an eternity in hell.
Matthew 5:13-16 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under peoples feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.1 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus told us we are salt and light. I would contend that we are commanded to live in such a way that God will receive the glory through everything we do. Whether eating, drinking, etc…do all for the glory of God. We cannot afford to take a moment off and relegate spiritual activities and a heart of worship for Sundays only. Can you imagine the opportunities that would be lost to be witnesses for Jesus if we had that mentality? If you are truly a Christian you must always be ready to give people a reason for the hope that is within you.
I am reevaluating my interactions with people and making it a priority to engage those I meet throughout the day with the gospel and I hope many of you will do the same. It is not enough to tell someone to have a nice day. We have a holy obligation to love people and go into all the world with the good news. With all of our grandiose mission statements to win the world for Jesus, oftentimes we forget that we are to be salt and light to those right here in our own town. What would happen if each of us purposefully got beyond the posturing and platitudes and really made it a purpose of engaging people like Jesus did? I think the answer is that we would see some people come to repentance, enter into a relationship with Jesus, and the end result is Gods glory on full display. This cannot be done in the flesh and with wrong motives. This is a personal effort grounded in prayer, fasting, and the word of God. We may be planting seeds or not get to see the harvest, but if the Lord is leading you, His glory will be the end result no matter how people respond.
If someone tells you they are doing fine, that is often a conditioned response. We should care for people enough to get to where their heart is. Of course, we are not pushy, insensitive, or weird. People can spot fake or Christianese a mile away. As believers, we have an obligation to genuinely care for people and sharing the love of Jesus and the gospel often begins with an open ear.
Matthew Henrys commentary describes salt as a preservative and a cleansing agent. He says salt is a remedy for unsavory meat, but there is no remedy for unsavory salt. As the salt of the earth, we must keep our saltiness by the constant abiding in the Lord and His word. Jesus called us the light of the world. He called himself the Light of the world. The light we are is only because of Him. Matthew Henry describes our light in this dark world. He says, *As lights of the world, they are illustrious and conspicuous, and have many eyes upon them, especially those who are zealous in His service, they are taken notice of as beacons.* We must let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father!
Before we finish, I want to share a few instances from just the past week or so of Christians who have decided to go into the highways and hedges to be salt and light.
A dear brother and close friend of mine shared the following instance of a hurting person encountering our very real God. This Christian brother was in a store just a few weeks ago. He noticed the young lady behind the counter had multiple piercings, tattoos, and she looked very depressed. He simply asked her if she was ok and if she would mind if he prayed with her and talked with her. This young lady began to break down into tears and tell my friend that her boyfriend murdered someone right in front of their kids and he was going to jail for good. She was so distraught over the whole ordeal she was seriously considering ending her life. She said just a day or so prior to my friend asking to pray with her, she cried out to God for help! My friend was simply being salt and light in this dark world. His mission field was right there at the local store. This brother told me that he made a recent decision to engage people right where they are like Jesus did and he asked God for more opportunities to do so. The truth, love, and reality of Jesus came crashing into this young ladys broken life because my dear friend did not go on with his day, but showed the love of the Lord to someone who really needs it.
This same friend of mine was sitting in a restaurant with his wife. My friend noticed a man at the bar who was very agitated, angry, and drunk. He was not going to talk to the guy but was led to anyway. At first, the man grew even more agitated but after a few moments, my friend got the guy to open up and he said he was at odds with his son and ready to put him out of the house, but the boys mother would not allow it. Because of his sons behavior, his patience was at an end. He was going to walk out of his marriage. My friend offered to pray with him and the mans face went from one of complete anger to one of complete brokenness. My friend always says his ultimate goal is to bring these people into a relationship with Jesus and then other believers.
People loose jobs, get unwanted divorces, receive bad news from the doctor, find out a loved one has just died, loose their house, feel hated by their classmates, and are often just barely hanging on. These things happen every day to people all around us. They need lasting hope and it is found only in Jesus. Christian friend, you may be the one to encourage someone to stay in a marriage. You may help them replace suicidal thoughts for the reality of life lived for Jesus. You may get to explain to them the message of repentance, forgiveness, and eternal life through Jesus. Let us not waste another moment. We need to be ready and willing to engage our friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and everyone we contact with the good news.
People are not just people, everyone is important to the Lord. We have daily opportunities to love other Christians and we have the same opportunities to share the hope of salvation through Jesus with the lost. This is not the stuff of New Years resolutions or to get fired up about for a few weeks and to lose your compassion for souls shortly thereafter, it is the natural outflow of daily abiding and walking with Jesus. I hope and pray that more believers will get beyond Sunday Christianity and be His witnesses from out neighborhoods to the ends of the earth. Our part in that great commission is closer than we may realize. Ask the Lord to open doors for more opportunities to be a witness for Him. God bless you are you go out to win the lost, make disciples, and love one another.
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.