Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Salt, light, a cool cup of water


I love this...from the Words in Red*...

I tell you the truth,
anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name
because you belong to Christ
will certainly not lose his reward.
Mark 9:41

and

"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.
Matthew 5:13-16

When I was in my 20s, I thought being salt and light was all about evangelism and changing the entire world. I'm glad there are still those with that great vision and a calling for a lifetime.

When I was in my 30s, I thought we could be salt and light and change the world through politics and social action. I'm also glad there are still those with that energy and enthusiasm to tackle this difficult arena.

In my 40s, I became a homeschool mom (beginning the second grade year) around the same time my daughter was starting college (actually...one entered kindergarten the same day the other started college). I also began to notice health challenges during this time, which later developed into full fledged juvenile diabetes and thyroid disease. My world became "smaller" as my energy level plummeted.

When my daughter was an only child, it was very easy to combine family, career, "ministry", etc. It just...worked...and I know I was in the will of God. I look back to those days and I'm in awe of my younger self...with full realization when one is within the grace and calling of God...one can perform amazing things, like family and work!

So what am I saying? Our calling to be "salt and light" in this world is always a given but it changes with the various seasons of our life. One who is single has many more options than one who has children at home. One who has great financial resources has more freedom than one living on a limited income. The person who has been blessed with the gift of a great education has options their friend with a GED doesn't have.

Each of us has individual gifts that we use in the season of life which we find ourselves. But...it's all about that old 60's phrase...Bloom Where You are Planted. It's what you do with what you have...where you are...that the Words in Red are all about. It's also about blooming where you are planted and not coveting your neighbors gifts and opportunities. :)

So...how am I being salt and light to the World right now? Well, I sit here and type out my thoughts and details of my life and I'm absolutely amazed there are people who read what I have to say (although sometimes I cringe when I see my Bloglines subscriber numbers go down and smile when they go up!).

However, for the most part I see Coffee Tea Books and Me as a chat with those like minded people, fellow sojourners on this journey of life...and giving a cup of water can be providing a cozy place where one can read and know they are not alone. :)

I use my baking and cooking gifts as a way to show God's love. I know you won't find it in either of the books of Corinthians (I've looked)...I have the spiritual gift of cookies. Uh huh... Just ask some of the teenagers I've known through the years.

I have a God given gift to have good, long lasting friendships with those who are not even close to the same religious and political views I hold. I've never taken out the Four Spiritual Laws with one of my dear friends (although I have told her we'll ask the Messiah when he comes if this is his first or second coming to earth). I've provided cookies for lots of family events, including a promise of cookies and fudge for the twins upcoming (I can't believe it)...high school graduation party. My son is their gentile "son".

I've had friends who are atheists, agnostics, cranky Christians, "backslidden" Christians, and Christians who just don't "get" other Christians. I think it has to do a lot with my childhood and upbringing and how I came to be a person of Faith...I understand from whence they come. (Which is probably why one of my favorite authors is Philip Yancey!).

I can be salt and light by bringing the landscapers working on my neighbors lawn cold bottled water on a very hot day. I am always salt and light when I make make a cup of green tea for my husband at night or a smoothie for my son when he is tired. I believe in taking very good care of our "furry kids" so I make certain the water and kibble containers are filled for the kitties...another cup of water given in His name. After all, it was He who knew our need for the unconditional love we receive from the members of our family with fur.

So what am I trying to say? For one thing, we don't have to reach the world to be salt and light. There are famous people who have been given a great task to do, one which affects the entire nation or the world. Most people are called to reach their family and their neighborhood ...perhaps their community.

We have different seasons in our lives. I think it is wise to do some pondering once in awhile...thinking of past options and looking forward to future opportunities to be the hands of Christ in this world. When we are walking in our calling and in our giftedness, then what we are doing as salt and light may cause us to be physically exhausted at times but it will be easy in that...we'll love doing it. My life has not turned out at all like I thought it would but when I look back...I see His leading and His gifts in the appropriate season.

Also...no matter what our official gifts or callings, we can all give a cup of cold water to a dry world. There will always be an opportunity awaiting us if we just keep our eyes and ears open. I love what Franklin Graham says quite often...that he doesn't just give food or the Gospel...he gives food and the Gospel, for it is only together that the hungry can come to Christ.

One of my agnostic friends told me...many years ago...it wasn't Christ he rejected, it was Christians. We all have an opportunity to change the world by changing one mind about what it means to walk with Christ...really...honestly...with love...and compassion. To be salt, light, and a cool drink of water to a world that is falling apart around us.

*The words in red in the New Testament or those spoken by Christ.

6 comments:

smilnsigh said...

You my Dear, are always a cup of cool water, in Blog Land. Your sweet nature comes through, in all your words. I can only hope to have a tiny bit of your universal gentleness.

I know. You are not always, nor have always been totally gentle. I don't say that you are, or even wish it. Humans are not perfect. {I happen to like it, this way}

But what you bring here, is a lovely and gentle way of doing the work you feel called to do. Many share your aim. Not many achieve it. 'Nuf-said. :-)

Mari-Nanci

Gypsy Purple said...

Stunning post!!!

Mrs. Darling said...

Wow my thoughts exactly. I could have written this myself.

It's amazing the seasons we go through in life. And they all have their place in that time. Great post.

ukrainiac said...

I certainly had NO IDEA where I'd be at this point in my life, but I am thankful that God uses us in different ways at different times.

I appreciate how you explained the stages of being "salt and light."

Thanks for a great post.

Debbie French said...

Dearest, you are my morning inspiration. I feel you are so very near to me as I drink my morning coffee and read your blog.
It's amazing how God can use our past to prepare us for our future. We still have an exciting future ahead with Him.

Thyen Party of Four said...

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you for taking me down my own memory lane. That was a great way to explain the seasons of life.