Sunday February 5th, 2017 – Fifth Sunday After Epiphany
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 underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:13-20
I heard of a business owner one time who had employed dozens of Christians in his company. He was interested in Christianity but was afraid to admit it. He said, “You know, I was drawn toward God by observing Christian workers who were conscientious and kind and thorough and honest on the job.”
“But I’ll tell you what really impressed me. One day a guy who I knew to be a new convert asked if he could see me after work. I was surprised when he came in my office with his head hanging low and said to me, ‘I’ll only take a few minutes, but I’m here to ask your forgiveness. Over the years I’ve worked for you I’ve done what a lot of other employees do, like borrowing a few company products here and there. I’ve taken some extra supplies; I’ve abused telephone privileges; and I’ve cheated the time clock now and then.
“‘But I became a Christian a few months ago, and it changed my life. Because of what Christ has done for me and in obedience to Him, I know I need to make amends to you and the company for the things I have done that are wrong. So could we figure out a way to do that? If you have to fire me for what I’ve done, I’ll understand. I deserve it. Or, if you want to dock my pay, dock it, whatever figure you think is appropriate. If you want to give me some extra work to do on my own time, that would be okay, too. I just want to make things right with God and between us.’”
Well, they worked things out. And the business owner, who soon became a Christian himself, said that this conversation made a deeper spiritual impact on him than anything else ever had. It was the single most impressive demonstration of true Christianity he had ever witnessed.
What was it that made this new believer so contagious? Was it a clever new gospel presentation? Was it a well-rehearsed testimony? No. It was merely a genuine and humble admission of wrongdoing along with a willingness to make it right. It was consistent Christianity.
Perhaps there’s something you should confess at work, or in your home, or in your neighborhood. Or there could be an area of your life that you know isn’t right, but you’re still trying to cover it up in the hope that nobody will find out. Maybe now God’s Spirit is prompting you to go to somebody and say, “Because I am serious about my relationship with God, I want to be right before Him and with you; I need to apologize.”
People who are investigating Christianity don’t expect perfection from Christians. They know nobody’s perfect. What they hope to find is someone with the courage to confess their blunders and make things right. They want to see humility and repentance and a way of dealing with life’s problems that is genuine and that is better than the life they have known.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?” By coming to Jesus, and asking Him to restore you, to flavor you again with the saltiness He desires to be in you. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is what He exists to do in the life of a believer. You and I cannot do it on our own. We need to ask God to send the Holy Spirit to do it in us. We need to ask God to make us “contagious Christians,” for Jesus sake.
“You are the light of the world…. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:13-14, 16)
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This month’s reflections have been written by The Very Rev. Robert S. Munday, Ph.D., D.D. Rev. Munday is Rector of All Saints Anglican Church, Montrose, Colorado, and is a member of the Board of Anglicans for Life.
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Tags: city on a hill, forgiveness, lectionary life app, light, Matthew 5:13-20, salt,