BY Rev Don Rivers
The season is in full swing and we are on the road to multiple places every week. The championship races are shaping up but there is plenty of racing left. Now we enter the time of the season where the heat is turned up. How do we perform under the microscope? People will see our true character. When they do will, they see a reflection of God? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Many times we find ourselves in pressure packed situations. We need to perform better to retain a sponsor or we need a good finish to secure our point standings. There are many opportunities at this time of the racing season to forget about everything and focus on our on-track performance, we call it Crunch Time!
Sometimes when that pressure is put on us we do not represent God well. We lose sight of what we have been called to become in Christ. We revert back to being self-focused and self-serving. We forget to look around and see what others are going through. That is not the way we should live. We should be looking around for the opportunities that God has for us. When we turn our focus to ourselves, we do not see or hear the voice of God. Jesus encourages us to remember who we are called to be.
Matthew 5:13-16: “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 by men. “You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Jesus described us in two different ways, salt and light. Let’s take a look at salt first. We are in the height of BBQ season. I enjoy the taste of something from the grill. We all have our own blend of seasonings. Each one adds a different flavor. So, how do we use our salt?
We can use it for different things such as to season food or melting ice. When we use it as a seasoning, we do so to enhance the flavor. Take a look around and see if we are enhancing those around us. Are we making things better or worse? You see when we add seasoning to the lives of others we should be improving the flavor.
We also use salt to change things. When we put salt on ice it melts, salt removes an obstacle and makes it easier to get around. Are we helping remove obstacles that are preventing people from finding peace in Christ?
Too much salt has an adverse effect. Salt can also be corrosive, when used in the wrong way salt will corrode and destroy. It will tear things apart. Are we corrosive and destructive?
We are encouraged by Jesus to use the love of Christ that is in our hearts to improve the situation. We are called to enhance the lives of others. But we must be careful not to lose our influence. Jesus cautions that if we lose our focus and our “salt” is no longer effective we become useless.
We have the opportunity each moment we live to affect those around us, either for good or bad. We decide how. Will we use our influence to help or hurt? When we choose to be destructive our ability to claim the love of Christ and help others is gone. Our witness is no longer respected. When we find ourselves under pressure, we need to be aware of how we are demonstrating our faith. We need to remember who is in control. We need to avoid losing our saltiness, our credibility, our witness.
Think of it this way. You can be an egg, a carrot or coffee beans. Let me explain; when we place each of these in the heat of the moment, boiling water, they react differently. An egg becomes hard-boiled, the inside changes from liquid to solid. Our heart gets hard. Carrots on the other hand get soft and mushy. They start off rigid and strong but end up all mushy, no backbone, no firm foundation to stand on. Now coffee beans on the other hand do not change, they remain the same. They do however change the water. The water becomes aromatic and tasty. The water becomes desirable. The coffee beans do not change but they improve the water. Which one are we? When we season the situation does it improve? When pressure comes do we harden our heart, lose our foundation or add to the situation in a way that improves it? Don’t lose your saltiness.
Jesus also calls us a light. He put in each one of us a light that can dispel the darkness. Don’t hide your light, let it shine. Have you ever been in a cave and the lights went out? You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Then they light a match, a little flame and it is amazing at how much light it provides. We can be the same kind of light. This world continues to darken. The prospects of turning back to God grow dimmer each day.
We, as Christians, have the opportunity to light the darkness others are experiencing. We can shed some light on the situation and reveal the things hidden in the shadows. We can displace fear and bring peace. When all hope is gone the light of one who knows Jesus can bring hope to the world.
Have you ever tried to stumble around in the dark? Even in our own home, we think we know where things are, but we still stub our toe and stumble. When we hide our light, we leave others to stumble around in the darkness. When we keep the love of God to ourselves, we leave others to find their own way in the darkness. Let your light shine! Put it on a lamp stand and help others find their way.
Jesus used these two analogies to demonstrate two important functions we have as Christians. We need to season with salt and to improve the lives of others. We also need to shine our light to help people find their way.
We need to ask ourselves; have we improved the lives of those around us or have we been an obstacle? The lesson Jesus teaches us is that we are leaders and have a responsibility to lead others to what is right. Whether we realize it or not we are leading. Make sure we are leading people to God.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.