[Jesus said,] â€œLet me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light standâ€”shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.â€Â Â Â Â Matthew 5:13-16 (The Message)
Theologians may grind their teeth as they read a paraphrase like The Message. But for me, it is a wonderful resource in my Bible study. While The Message and The New Living Translation may put a little extra wording in the white spaces of a translation, their contemporary style of language clears the path into understanding.
I am here on earth to follow Jesusâ€™ example and serve. I am given gifts to be useful, not to hoard them for myself. Jesus said I am to be â€˜saltyâ€™. One of the most disgusting things to eat is an egg or a tomato without salt. Am I salty with God? Is every part of my life seasoned with God? Do I begin my day with Him? Do I bring Him into my workplace? Is Jesus the head of my home? When someone becomes sick or I have a disagreement with my husband, or I have a crisis at work, do I first try to figure whatâ€™s next or a solution or do I turn to God first? Do I end my day with Jesus?
Jesus is the Light in the world. It is He in me that makes me a light in a world that is desperate for a glimmer of wisdom, hope, and love. I am the clear vessel of the Light. I cannot say, â€œMy faith is personal.â€ and hide it from everyone I meet. If I walk into Wal-mart and see a child who is thin and pale, and he asks me for a dollar for a sandwich, am I going to clutch my purse and hurriedly walk away? People are starving because they think there is nothing to nourish them.
â€œ be generous with your livesâ€ This is a tough concept to trade in for the worldâ€™s way. The world says that you get a college education (at least!) and go to work for the next 40+ years and then retire. What you do in those 40 years is all about what you can accumulate for yourself and your progeny. I must admit to you that there is a part of me that wants to believe that and live that. But Jesus doesnâ€™t teach that. I know teachers and doctors and mechanics who give of themselves every day. They go the extra mile. They are always looking for an opportunity to help and encourage someone. Jesus says to be generous. That means â€˜above and beyondâ€™.
Paul said that I am to be an ambassador of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20). I represent Him. No one can out-give God! (Matthew 10:8, Luke 11:11) So if you think you have given enough because you have served for 40 years â€“ think again. If you think you are too old or your body too weak â€“ think again. There will be time to rest later for all eternity.
There are so many opportunities and options to serve. God gave me gifts. There are talents inside of me that are there for a reason. Using those gifts or talents, lifts my spirit. There is a reason when you enjoy doing something. It is because you are doing what your Heavenly Father planned for you to do. Take some time every day to talk about this with Jesus between now and February 14th. Find out what you and Jesus love to do together. What a great love-gift!