When Jesus addressed his “salt of the earth” and “light of the world” audience, he was not calling them a bunch of do-gooders who ought to be imitated. He was instructing them to preserve their identity and to live out their purpose. When we take time to consider these saying as more than slogans but as God’s word to us, we might hear echoes of those same instructions in our time.
If Advent is the alarm clock to Jesus’ return, then all you morning people must be on the right track. But what is an over-sleeper like me supposed to do?
Saying, “Thank you” is more than good manners. Counting our blessings is more than a self-help strategy. Gratitude is the power of the gospel at work to increase our faith so that we might take our place as the humble recipients of God’s mercy; so that we might recognize that it is God’s power, not our own, that saves us; so that we might stand alongside those who suffer as a sign of Christ’s own presence.
There might be a little bit of sarcasm in this story, but it is a serious parable, cause for deep reflection of our stewardship of the resources God has entrusted to our care, both as individuals and as a community of faith.
In Christ, you are liberated from “I can’t” with the promise that God will equip you and empower you for the work that is before you. In Christ, you are set free from “you shouldn’t” with the promise that grace not only abounds but it also expands like a mustard seed into a tree or yeast into a loaf of bread. Where grace is at work, the kingdom of God grows strong.
Proverbs 3:5 commends these words to the people of God, “Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” but can God really be trusted?
The mark of true Christian community is not that we judge others to condemn them, and not even to rescue them – after all, salvation is Christ’s job, not ours. The mark and meaning of Christian community is that we are journeying together into abundant life.
Go everywhere. Go together. Go simply. Go in peace.