“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors 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-colors 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.” —Matthew 5:13–16 MSG
In 1982, I became an ordained minister in the Church of God and served side-by-side with my husband in pastoral ministry. We co-pastored churches with Tom preaching in the morning worship services and me preaching in the evening worship services. My preaching always seemed to turn into teaching. At times I looked back and wondered why my messages were not evangelistic. However, two occasions stand out in my mind when God validated my style of ministry. And two phrases come to mind: Life-style evangelism and marketplace evangelism.
On one occasion at our daughter’s wedding, her friend from high school came into the bride’s dressing room and said she wanted to tell me something. She thanked me for letting her stay in our home on many occasions throughout high school. She said my example as a mother and a Christian woman influenced her life and was the reason she is a Christian today and raising her children in a Christian home. (Not my preaching.)
The second occasion was this past summer while visiting with friends of nearly thirty years. As we all sat around the table with mutual friends from the same time period and same pastorate, my friend said, “Mary is the reason I became a Christian. (We worked with our desks pushed together so that day in day out we faced each other.) Mary never pushed her faith on me. She was just my friend through a very difficult time in my life.”
Wow! People were watching my life, not particularly hearing me preach. So, in our homes, in our churches, at our jobs, where we shop and do business, people are reading our lives and making decisions to follow Christ because they see something in our lives that they want. The old hymn “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” says it best: “Drop Thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of Thy peace.” My mother, Lois Bruce, had this gift. Once she entered the intensive care newborn nursery where she was the head nurse and one of the doctors declared, “Here comes the stabilizing presence of calm.”
Lord, let us be salt wherever we are placed, so people can experience all the flavor of God. Help us be light in a dark world so people can see all the colors and beauty of God and sense his stabilizing presence of calm. Amen.
Mary Bruce Fuller, Minister and Attorney; Florence, Mississippi
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked Phillips are taken from The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips, 1962 edition, published by Harper Collins.