I am thankful to Ruth Ayers who provides a place to share and celebrate with others through her weekly link up of blogs. This week, I am celebrating the effects of salt and light.
“A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.” D.L. Moody.
I received a Facebook message this week which has profoundly affected me. I was in a Home Goods store on Friday night walking through the kitchen goods when I noticed that my phone had a message. I paused and pulled my cart over right there in the middle of the kitchen section, opened the message, saw that it was quite lengthy then started to read. It was from a parent of two of my students who are siblings. Now, I know this parent from several conversations which she and I have had over the years and enjoy keeping up with her family on Facebook. Her little ones come to see me with their respective classes but I only get to teach her children once every eight days based on how my school schedule was designed. In addition, I greet them each day as they arrive at school and walk past my room as I am standing there in my doorway saying “Hello” to all students. These kids smile, make eye contact and speak to me. I love to see all of the children because each day provides us with a new beginning and opportunities exist for learning that weren’t there the day before.
This mom’s message instantly drew tears to my eyes. Her heartfelt message has helped me to see why God has placed me in the role that I am in at my school as the Technology Teacher. I asked this mom if it would be okay to share her message to me here on my personal blog and she agreed. As I have reflected on its content, I have allowed the words to seep deep into my heart. This mom didn’t have to take the time to write me this message, but she did. Her words reached out to me and encouraged me more than I could ever express back to her, although I did reply with thanks and gratitude.
Her message to me:
“Hello there. Our dinner conversation tonight was about technology class! My kids really like your class and are very enthusiastic about everything they learn with and from you! But, the reason I am writing to you is to tell you that in one point I mentioned to them how much I like you and I asked them; did you guys know that Mrs. Maples is a godly woman who knows and loves Jesus! My daughter very quickly said…yes I really know that! I asked how did you know that??? And the answer was “because I see Him through her actions and words!” Wow…I just want to take a minute and encourage you to keep letting your light shine there for that whole school! They see Jesus through you! Thank you for being in there!…I know He wants my family to be salt and light to others who may don’t know Him! I know that He has placed you there for the same reason. I pray daily for the school and it feels good to see that God keeps answering my prayers! Have a wonderful weekend!”
This mom described her family and me as being salt and light to others. This comparison of salt and light is a Biblical reference. Salt keeps meat from decaying and has been used throughout time to cure and preserve meat. The salt has to be salty in order for it to work. I pray that the Holy Spirit of God will flow from me in what I say and do with my family, my friends, my co-workers and my students thus allowing me to affect my culture in much the same way that salt affects meat. Salt prevents decay and seasons the meat. As a follower of Jesus, I need His Spirit to prevent me from decaying spiritually and to preserve me in a culture which often does not honor Him, while seasoning it with words and actions that are pleasing to God. The Scripture reference is Matthew 5:13-16 New International Version (NIV):
13 “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 underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I have been a follower of Jesus since I was a child. As I have grown in my faith, I have realized that only Jesus can make me whole. Because of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for the world on the Cross, I have a hope and a wholeness that comes from daily fellowship with Jesus in prayer. I can be who He designed me to be, to love those in my path and to live with hope because of the way God works in me. It is so encouraging to know that with His help, I can live for Him, shine His light and impact others in a positive way.
The Bible tells us that the believers in Jesus overcome by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and the word of their testimony. I want to encourage other believers to overcome by living out your faith. It is my goal that other teachers and friends who read this post will see the impact that we can have on others when we live our faith and let the fruit of the Spirit grow which seasons our words and actions. Children and their parents notice how we treat them. I don’t always have the patience that I need or say the right thing, but I can tell you that when I don’t measure up, I ask God to help me and He does. I know that He gives me grace in my time of need so I am willing to give myself grace to move on, forgive myself if I fail or have a wrong attitude and to keep moving in alignment with God’s Word.
I am a sinner saved by the grace of God. My faith in Jesus ushers in His Holy Presence through His Holy Spirit. I realize that I can’t be holy on my own; it is the work of God to place his righteousness in me through His gift at the Cross. Living a holy life is a choice that doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, but it does allow God’s Spirit to work in me. Reverend Jay Carey wrote on his website in September of 2015 the following poignant words: “Maybe the best way to understand the real meaning of holiness is with a “w”. To be “holy” is to be whole. Sin, like a computer virus, destroys the connection within the computer to do what it was designed to do. Holiness restores us to wholeness in everything that we were created to do, to be, to love and to live.” Referenced from http://www.bethiaumc.org/2015/09/13/rock-solid-living-part-2-living-holy-1-peter-113-23-rev-jay-carey-september-13-2015/
For those who do not know Jesus, it is my hope that they will see Him by the way that Christians live their lives. Being religious has never done anything for me. Being whole by the blood of Jesus has transformed my life. I have never been a fan of religion because Jesus is more to me than a religion. He is my Savior, my Rescuer, my Redeemer. His Spirit is my Counselor, Comforter, and Healer. I trust Him to help me and to restore my soul. He is doing a work in me, sanctifying my heart, purging out my bitterness over past hurts, placing a peace in me that goes beyond human understanding, causing me to see His redeeming love for me and allowing me to love others. I don’t have to be perfect but know that He is shaping my heart and filling my life.
Finally, I was reminded of a song which I used to sing in church in the 1990s called “Carry the Light”. It was originally sung by Twila Paris. As I would sing it by soundtrack to our small congregation of believers, I always felt that it was my calling to carry the light of Jesus wherever God would lead me. I was a beginning teacher in the early 1990s and knew that God had a plan for me to be a public school teacher. He has helped me to encourage and engage children during my career and to show them the love of Jesus. It seemed appropriate today for me to end my post with the lyrics to “Carry the Light”:
Lyric credits: http://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/carry-the-light/