“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, NKJV)
Jesus was telling those who might be thinking about following Him to be aware that in following Him, others would be watching them in their manner of life. It is just as true today!
I like to watch people … not being nosey or prying … but just to watch their body language … the expressions on their faces. You can learn a great deal by just watching others!
You can see what they think of themselves … and of others!
You can see what’s important to them … and what is not!
You can see if someone is actually enjoying life … and those who are not!
You can see when someone cares about someone else they are in the company of … and you can see when ‘it’s not so much!’
You can see when children love and respect their parents/grandparents by the way they talk with them and interact with them … and you can see when there is little or no respect!
You can see when someone is of a ‘servant’s heart’ … and when someone is just selfish!
You can see when a parent is listening to their child’s conversation … to their questions … to their concerns … and you can see when they are not!
Can you see where all of this is going? Jesus talked about it often … the place of influence whether it was for the good or for the evil! Just take a stroll through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and notice how often Jesus addresses the place of influence!
Without a doubt, the teaching of Matthew 5:13-16 stands out the brightest and is the passage we are probably most familiar with. It could very well be the case that during these uncertain and uneasy times, we are being watched even more closely … especially by those we are closest too! Our spouse … our children … our grandchildren! They are watching … they are listening … to how we’re dealing with all of this anxiety, uncertainty, unrest and unbelief in the world!
Do they see in our faces and hear in our voices … doubt, fear and uncertainty about our God being on His throne and being aware that He is in control of this world?
Or do they see in our faces and hear in our voices … confidence, faith, hope and priority to keep the Lord and His ways in our conversations … family time … and life itself?
Consider the following true story and then reflect on it for a while … would you?
It was during a recent family road trip that fast food became the restaurant of choice; the youngest of the children went with the father to the counter to help make sure he ordered everything correctly. As he paid the cashier with cash, change needed to be made. The cashier made the mistake of giving $10 back in the exchange. The dad showed her the mistake and returned the money. As they walked away, the daughter was smiling when she looked up to her dad and said, “Dad, I noticed too and was watching to see what you would do!”
That, my friends, was one of those “WOW” moments for the dad … for me too … and hopefully for you! Actions do speak louder than words! Others are watching … from afar and from very near!
May each of us learn to handle our influence in the humble, God-pleasing manner that Jesus Christ demonstrated throughout His time on earth. As the Apostle Peter proclaimed to Cornelius and his household concerning Jesus, “… He went about doing good …” (Acts 10:38)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.