Times Like These

We live in turbulent, unpredictable times. So how do we, as Christians, response to the culture around us? Unfortunately and far too often, we acclimate to it, and become totally ineffective as witnesses to the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives, including our own. Indeed, we often become powerless, apathetic to the things of God, and lukewarm as we chase after all the “stuff” this world has to offer.

Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, calls us to be salt and light (Matt. 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.”

I ran across this brief devotion this morning titled, “How To Be Salt and Light,” by Dr. Charles Swindoll in his devotional book, “Day by Day,” (Word Publishing, Thomas Nelson, 2000, p. 327):

How To Be Salt And Light
John 8:12; Matthew 5:13

“God calls us to be salt-and-light Christians in a bland, dark society. We need to remember salt must not lose it’s taste and light must not be hidden. Let me suggest three statements that declare and describe how to fulfill this role:

  • ‘I am different.’ We should not become like the world. We must guard against being sucked into the prevailing culture and conforming to society’s expectations.
  • ‘I am responsible.’ Every once in a while we need to ask some hard questions: Are we making contact with others? Are we seeking isolation? It’s up to us to spread the salt and light.
  • ‘I am influential.’ Let’s not kid ourselves. The very fact that we belong to Christ–that we don’t adopt to the system, that we march to a different drumbeat–gives us an influence in this society of ours. We are influencing others in our every behavior, be it good or bad. Even when we aren’t trying, out comes the salt and on come the light.

 “Remember to keep your light ‘on’ and your saltshaker tipped!”

In a society such as ours that offers everything, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that are truly important–things like eternity, and how life here on this globe is “like a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow” (James 4:13-15). Do you want a reality check? Go to a cemetery. Nobody buried there knew exactly when their last day was, yet it came–most likely totally unannounced.

Do you remember James Fixx? He “was the author of the 1977 best-selling book, ‘The Complete Book of Running.’ Best known as Jim Fixx, he is credited with helping start America’s fitness revolution, popularizing the sport of running and demonstrating the health benefits of regular jogging” (quote from Wikipedia). On July 20, 1984, Fixx died at age 52 of a heart attack after his daily run.

Dead at 52, a health and fitness guru, and I bet he never knew what hit him. Life is but a vapor . . . and we never know when ours will end. I hope that gives you pause for thought.

So how are you living your life? And what, or rather who, are you living it for?

I’d like to end this post with the words from a chorus in a song titled, “Times Like These,” sung by Glen Campbell (YouTube Video below):

It’s times like these you learn to live again,
it’s times like these you give and give again,
it’s times like these you learn to love again,
it’s times like these time and time again.”

YouTube Video: “Times Like These” sung by Glen Campbell (from “Meet Glen Campbell” CD):

Photo credit here