How wonderful it is to allow God to choose the agenda and to speak into our lives. In this series we are listening to God speaking through Matthew’s Gospel. Last week, we began to study Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) where He explains how different it was, and would be, to live in this Kingdom of Heaven. He was preaching about God. In the ‘Beatitudes’ (Matthew 5:1-12) Jesus outlined 8 fundamental emotional attitudes which lay the spiritual foundations for strong mental health and beautiful kingdom personalities. After dealing with our inner life last week He now moves to our social life on the outside – how we relate to others.

Jesus wants His kingdom people, after being renewed in our inner thoughts and attitudes, to be a blessing to the world by being like both salt and light. Salt can influence and make a bland food tasteful and enjoyable, contributing to a good eating experience. Similarly, light is appreciated for the way it improves the quality of what we can see and so enables good insights, truth, wisdom and hope that can come from that. 

When I think of the most influential person in my life (apart from my parents and wife) I think back to an incident, when as a student in college accommodation a recent convert named Paul, who I had only just met at a Christian gathering, dropped around to see me. He was different to any other Christian I had met. He was incredibly excited with what he was discovering from the Bible. He was simply reading the Bible for the first time and was blown away by what it (the Bible and God) was actually saying to him. As a young and not very developed Christian myself, I was curious over his genuine enthusiasm and I thought that is exactly what should be happening and I caught it too. We have shared a lasting fellowship which still endures to this day. He may well be surprised by my noting the impact and influence upon my life that God orchestrated of that encounter. 

We all inescapably have an influence on those around us. We can mar and scar a person for life with bad encounters, or we can influence a person for good. Jesus obviously wants us to have an influence for good (be a good taste or be a helpful light), so that people will glorify our Heavenly Father. 

Alternatively, Jesus doesn’t want us to leave a bad taste or to distort the truth and prevent anyone from finding the way. Nor does He want us to wear the label ‘salt / light’ or ‘Christian’ and not deliver any spiritual and community benefit.  

Let’s all make our lives count for the community good. 

Have a great week!

Pastor Graham