Being
SALT and LIGHT
originally written 21 Nov 03
revised 15 Apr 04
added to first website 11 Apr 04
"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.  In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Words of Jesus found in Matthew, chapter 5, verses 13-16.
Followers of Christ are instructed to be salt and light in this world.  How can we do add any flavor (being salt) to this world if we remain in the “salt shaker,” surrounding ourselves with only other believers in our daily lives?  This question is one I have wrestled with before.  I tend to “hang out” with people I feel comfortable being with.  People I feel “safe” with, and that generally means other believers.  But this is not where God wants me to stay because I have a job to do.  I am to be salt in a world of tastelessness.  

    This morning I am contemplating another aspect of my walk as a believer in Christ...being light.  As we are recently experiencing challenges to our beliefs in my son’s school (from peers and teachers), my "mother instinct" is to pull my son out of this situation and put him in a safer one, either homeschooling again or in a Christian school.  I do not feel “called” toward either of these at the moment so I am left with feelings of confusion.  What should we do?  What is the correct path?  We hear other believers say that our children should not be in public school.  LORD, what do you say in this situation?  Is it time to pull him out?  Or is he to stay in the school, being a “light in the darkness” for his peers to see?  Have these challenges shaken my son’s faith?  I do not believe so.  He seems stronger than ever.  An image came to me this morning that was a little frightening when viewing it from a mother’s perspective.  My prayer for my family has been, for quite some time now, that we would be a light in the darkness for others around us.  The image I had this morning as I was praying was one of a large group of light surrounded by darkness but then smaller lights broke away from the larger group to go out into the darkness where the larger light was not reaching.  I noticed that the smaller light did not become extinguished by the darkness but brought light to the areas not reached by the whole group.  Is this what the LORD is calling some of us to do?  The thought that this could be William’s purpose is frightening and humbling yet, at the same time, exciting for me.  My mother instinct is to protect him from those who would harm him.  But would taking his light into the darkness around him bring him harm?  If this is the LORD’s purpose for him, I do not believe so.  William’s faith is solid and strong.  If I pull him out of public school, will he still be as strong?  Challenges, even though they are not always pleasant, often serve to strengthen us.  Some examples would be weight training, runners who train for races, things of this nature.  These people know that unless they challenge their bodies, they will not progress further.  Are we allowing ourselves to grow soft by exclusively remaining within the safety of the fold?  I am (it is clear to me) one who loves to bask in the “safe zones”.  But is this the right thing to do?  Our Christian Fellowship has a purpose: to strengthen us, to equip us, to motivate us…to do what?  Surely not to “sit on the bench” for the whole time…but to go out and make a difference in the lives of those around us who do not know the LORD we serve or the love He is offering to them.  

    If we stand in a lighted room and someone walks in with a candle…what impact is made?  But if we are standing in a dark room and someone with a candle walks in, the impact is great.  Are we being selfish by keeping the light we have been given amongst other lights?  

    If our light is becoming dim, then it is appropriate to go back into the company of other lights to be refreshed.  But when we are a strong light, we must take that light to others who are still in the darkness.  They need to be shown the path that will lead them to life.  It is irresponsible and unkind to only look after ourselves in this matter.  

    I feel another “growing time” coming for me.  I am aware of my personality “flaws” and my perceived need to stay within my safe zone.  I am also aware that the LORD will not allow me to stay there if His purpose for me requires me to reach out.  I trust Him to grow me to the place where I can reach out to others.  I am not, by nature, an initiator.  I cringe at the thought of introducing myself to people I don’t know and striking up a conversation.  But, situations may be coming that will not allow me to wait until others do the work of introductions.  I may be in situations that require me to take the initiative and speak first.  I pray that the Lord will give me courage and strength.  I pray that He will grant me wisdom and grace when dealing with each situation that comes my way.

Continuing along on this journey called life,

~~Shirley  

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photograph by: Shirley/Jun 2005
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