My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don't do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you?
-- James 2:14
For Christ-followers these days, the headlines are anything but encouraging. Our brothers and sisters in faith have been persecuted and killed by the thousands throughout the Middle East and in Asia. In Canada, the passage of Bill C-250 has criminalized parts of Scripture that seemingly expose certain classes of people to so-called "hatred and ridicule." And in the United States, which has a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion, Christian business-owners face thousands of dollars in fines and other penalties for the crime of adhering to Bible-based standards. It's in troubling times like ours that we must remember Jesus' admonition to some of His earliest followers:
"Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven."
What does Jesus mean by light? It's really that "spark" or inner power that God grants each Christ-follower to demonstrate his goodness through their words and actions. We might show it by running a much-needed errand for an elderly neighbor. Or volunteering to manage a co-worker's project when he or she is struggling to finish an earlier assignment. Or it might involve cleaning up a community park, buying groceries for a shut-in or visiting the residents of an assisted living center. Ultimately, it's about living out our faith.
As he did 2,000 years ago, Jesus also calls on his modern-day followers to be the salt of the earth--that crucial element of preservation and flavor--while we await his return. That means we're to help prepare for his Kingdom by making the most of the different gifts and talents that he's given us. And while serving the least of his creation, we'll become more like him along the way.
"In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served," Jesus explains. "He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people."
We do indeed live in troubling times. But many outside our faith are now recognizing both their plight and their need for a brighter future. As Christ-followers, let's turn our faith into salt and light by accepting Jesus' invitation to help illuminate a dark, dying world that's so much in need of our Savior's guidance, truth and love.