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October 5, 2010

Light in the "Dark"

I was reminded today about the importance of good Christian leaders. Most Christian people are not necessarily staff people in an official leadership job description, but rather, volunteers. Good Christian volunteers are so vital in the life of the Church. Volunteers are the vital necessity of any non-profit organizations, but especially the Church.
In the early part of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, we read about Jesus getting his ministry going after his baptism and temptation in the desert. The author, Matthew, writes:

When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulun and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah's sermon: 
   Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, 
      road to the sea, over Jordan, 
         Galilee, crossroads for the nations. 
   People sitting out their lives in the dark 
         saw a huge light; 
   Sitting in that dark, dark country of death, 
      they watched the sun come up.
   This Isaiah-prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off: "Change your life. God's kingdom is here."
(Matthew 4:12-17, The Message)
I'm will not try to expound on the many facets that these verses have  to say to us here, but only what jumped out to me while reading this.

The people living in darkness
      have seen a great light;
   on those living in the land of the shadow of death
      a light has dawned
(An NIV rendering from the same passages)
This passage, pulled from Isaiah,  is often assumed and applied to Jesus here. Later in Matthew, from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus goes on to say to his disciples, and any others who can hear him, that they too are the light of the world, even salt of the earth. Christian people are the salt and light of the earth. How crazy is that? 
No matter who you are, as a follower of Christ, you matter. You matter, because you reflect Christ. How people perceive Christ matters. I think people were drawn to him because of his loving-kindness and "light" that he was. 

May we know and realize more and more that Jesus' light still shines, brightly, and now in us. May we, as Christian people (leaders included) that passing on correct information, whether it is in a Sunday school setting or other ministry context, is not more important as passing and modeling loving-kindness and pleasantry. Making sure people think correctly about the world around them and about scripture is important, but what about making sure people knowing and modeling the "light" and attributes of Christ.

What we do and how we act is important. 

May we hear again the word of the Lord:

"You are the salt of the earth.... 
  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 who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:13-16)

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