Today is a General Election in England and many people (myself included!) have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, people know that choosing a government is an important task and that the right to vote is a privilege that has been hard earned over the years. On the other hand, many people feel that their single, solitary vote is insignificant and that they really don’t have much say in regional matters, let alone in national and international affairs. They feel that bureaucracy steam-rollers on, no matter what they as individuals do or say.
This is not a party political broadcast in any shape or form: I simply think that lurking undearneath those feelings about politics are more fundamental questions about our individual worth and value. Where do we fit into the bigger picture? Does our daily living really have any impact on the world?
In Matthew 5, Jesus teaches his disciples about living in the world and makes bold claims for them. He says, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:13-16, The Message)
I have been very challenged recently by this passage. God’s way of living is radically different to the world’s. Not only our actions, but our motives have to be right. What we say, what we do, how we think, how we act towards others (especially those who don’t treat us the way we think we ought to be treated!)… all these things are looked at rigorously and the world’s ‘dog-eat-dog’ mentality is firmly challenged.
Jesus concludes this section by saying “Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matt 5:48, The Message)
Ultimately, our allegiance to Jesus should be defining how we live at all times and we need to understand that how we live does really matter. We might view our contribution to the renovation of St Mark’s as insignificant or trivial, but in actual fact, everything we do is seen by God. He sees all things and knows how we live. Let’s choose to live for Him, in every conversation, every deed and every thought.