“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Some of you will recognize that line from the 2014 commencement address Admiral William McRaven gave at the University of Texas which went viral a few years back and was later made into a book. Admiral McRaven was reminding those graduates of the power of the little things: our choices, our habits, our influence.
Every one of us is entrusted with a sphere of influence. And the choices we make, the habits we form, and the influence we wield help shape and mold our little corner of the world for better or worse. It’s the little things that end up changing our world.
Jesus makes much the same point in his Sermon on the Mount: “If you want to change the world, start off by being Salt and Light.”
In this sermon from Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus is teaching us how to change our world. To do that, we need to understand three things:
- The Overlap of the Kingdoms: Every moment of every day is an opportunity to be with Jesus and live in the reality and resources of the Kingdom of Heaven.
- The Dynamics of Salt and Light: Salt is a preservative and a seasoning. Jesus is saying that his followers, when they live in the reality and resources of the Kingdom of Heaven, have a preservative influence on a decaying world around them. Light is a deterrent and a beacon. Jesus is saying that his followers, when they live in the reality and resources of the Kingdom of Heaven, are like light that drives the darkness away. So, Jesus is telling us that if you want to change the world, start off by being salt and light. But, in order to be both salt and light, we must avoid two errors: syncretism (when we try to fit in with the world) and separatism (when we try to hide from the world around us). The correct balance is to embrace holy presence.
- The Calling of Holy Presence: Jesus calls us to be a people holy unto the Lord who are also fully present in this lost world. We are called to be fully engaged residents of the kingdom of earth, while maintaining a holy life of citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. But living in this way requires tension. We all tend to lean either towards syncretism or separatism. As you consider which way you lean, ask yourself: Where is God calling me to radical holiness? Where is God calling me to radical presence?
Takeaway: Go and be the church!
Watch the Living The Message episode here: https://youtu.be/f2L6sOwcQBc