Feb 6, 2011 - Sunday Meditation (You are Christ's Light-Bearers!)
Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception. Lord, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed. Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Isaiah 58:7-10 Psalm 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Meditation by Don Schwager What can salt and light have to teach us about God and his reign on earth? Jesus used ordinary images, such as salt and light, to convey extraordinary truths about the kingdom of God . Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. People traded with it, like we trade with gold and stock. Salt also served a very useful purpose in hot climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave food flavor, it also preserved meat from spoiling. Jesus used the image of salt to describe how his disciples are to live in the world. As salt purifies, preserves, and penetrates, so the disciple must be as salt in the world of human society to purify, preserve, and penetrate that society for the kingdom of God and of his righteousness and peace. Jesus also used the image of light and a lamp to further his illustration. Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace. Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception. Jesus remarks that nothing can remain hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and from God. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways and bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them form others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all. There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God’s light and who seek this truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light? “Lord, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed”. Supplementary Reading Will this Lead Someone to Christ? Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. - Romans 14:20-23 One hot-button issue today among American Christians is whether or not certain foods or drinks are okay. And, as we see in today’s passage, that’s not a new controversy! Now let me be up-front and tell you that I’ve made the choice to practice complete abstinence when it comes to alcohol because of the example I want to set. But there’s really a bigger issue at hand here than just the substance itself: your example to others. When it comes to your freedoms, anything that may cause others to stumble should be either limited or eradicated around those who may sin because of your example. This can show itself in several areas like watching how you eat in front of people who struggle with food, being mindful of your comments around those who gossip, or watching your temper with those who deal with anger. As Christians, one clear responsibility you and I have is to constantly ask ourselves, “Will this hurt others?” And if something we do keeps someone else from coming to Christ or effectively living the Christian life, we need to leave it alone. Truly living out the Gospel always requires sacrifice. So pray and ask God to show you where you can make sacrifices in your life to more effectively lead others to Christ! YOUR EXAMPLE TO OTHERS IS A POWERFUL TOOL TO LEAD OTHERS TO CHRIST. SO PRACTICE HABITS THAT WILL ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO GLORIFY GOD WITH THEIR BEHAVIOR.
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