Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Light Salt Anyone?

Over the last few days/weeks, I've been asking Papa if He would shine His light into all of the dark corners of my soul. And let me be clear, the spirit is how I communicate with Him. The soul is my mind, will, and emotions. It is in my soul where I store my garbage that I don't want Him to see (a la Adam and Eve trying to cover their nakedness). (Rhetorical aside: Why does the natural man believe he can hide from the eternal God? And why does he even feel it necessary to try?)

I have been walking over the past week or so. Sometimes it's been in the early morning and I can hear the world waking up. Sometimes it's later in the day when it seems much quieter. And one day last week I walked just after dusk – the time where it is more night than day. It was an amazing time of contemplation. The wind was blowing, and a blanket of large oak leaves were being tossed and swirled around. They almost seemed to make a whispering noise, and I imagined God speaking to me through their rustle.

It is during these walks where I have time to reflect on ideas that start out as tiny seeds in my mind. I have been told I am a deep thinker. I don't know how deep my thoughts are, but God has given me a certain curiosity that I seem to have the need to satiate. I like to think things out to a certain extent and answer questions that come to my mind.

Something Papa showed me today is the idea that we are called the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

In my most religiously conservative days, I was focused inwardly on my small body of fellow workers. I was SO inwardly-focused, that the only way I could (AND SHOULD) minister was either inside those walls or with or to someone FROM those walls. I admit that it was even to the point of disdain for anyone who was not inside our conclave. And if someone LEFT our fellowship? Well they were no longer worthy of my attention. I am not talking about anyone else's attitude – this was mine alone. There may be others that share(d) this, but that is for them to sort out on THEIR walks with Papa.

And before I get to my main point of the proceeding paragraphs, I want to stop and take a moment to marvel at the way that Papa works in me. One way is how he puts the desire for certain books into my heart JUST when I need them. For example, I may order a book and not start reading it right away. Or, I will start one and put it down. I feel no guilt at not finishing one (well, the teacher in my head feels a twinge sometimes). I have discovered, however, that when I DO pick it up again, it says just what I need to hear, when I need to hear it.

Also, when He does this for me, I devour it like it was the last book on earth. I gulp it down in large, wordy chucks. I must say that since He made ME this way, I don't understand others who don't gobble them up like I do, but seem to merely nibble at their edges.

One such book is Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer. I've had it for months now, and only picked it back up after I had just greedily consumed The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus and was looking for my next binge. Here is where I must also say that it always seems that the book I am CURRENTLY reading is my favorite, but Divine Nobodies really, truly is my favorite. Really.

All jesting aside, I can relate more to this author and the things Papa has shown him in HIS walk than I have from anyone else. The truths proposed in it, to me, are "simply" revolutionary. Don't think that he is calling for us to become comrades in arms charging at windmills. Here is a main theme – "God has been trying to free me from the burden of doing something spectacular for him. It has a way of distracting you from the opportunities to be salt and light where you are."

And this is where my meanderings hopefully will come together into a cohesive thought. THIS is what Papa and I sorted out. The idea that I was SO focused on my fellowship, MY church, that I could not see (did not WANT to see) the people He put in my path every day. Oh to think of the number of people I looked down upon because they did not serve alongside me when all He wanted for me to do is to simply share His light and salt wherever I went.


Jamie said...

Yes, yes, YES to every word & thought! We don't even have to create opportunities to be light & salt; they just present themselves. But here is the kicker: trusting Him in us enough to just rest and be and love in whatever place we find ourselves - be it in or out of our comfort zone. In other words, can we REALLY depend on His life in us without us having to carry the burden of our own or others' circumstances? I find I have an unfortunate tendency to attempt to "do my part"! BAH!

I, also, wanted to share this thought that I really liked when I heard it: We have been taught or fall into thinking that we have to surrender or give our stuff to God. Yep, we do! And so we keep ourselves occupied examining ourselves and gathering our stuff and turning it over to God. When, really, we are just called to believe. A life of vigilant self-examination keeps our focus off God when there is where our gaze should remain fixed. Faith trusts Him, not our efforts.

Blessings!!!! :)

Jamie said...

Why do I proofread so much better AFTER the fact? URGH!

>A life of vigilant self-examination keeps our focus off God when that is where our gaze should remain fixed.

Joel B. said...

I'm the same way with books, and with other things like that. In my case, I very rarely ever make it all the way through a book, but it never matters because God truly does direct me to the right passage or the right paragraph or sentence or whatever... at the right time. It's always so amazing.

As to your main point, I can relate to it in many ways. In my own experience, I was that person who always thought I needed to leave my mark on this world and do big things for God. I thought if I prayed the right prayers and went to all the church services and meetings and listened to all the right speakers, etc, etc, then my life would truly shine for Christ. And so my focus was on those "big" things, and not on the moment by moment life that was right in front of me. And my focus was on trying to be salt and light "for His sake."

And by salt and light, of course I meant "doing right." It was all about living right. It had nothing, or very little, to do with love and relationships. It was all duty-based. And yeah, it was about me doing my part first, so God would then be 'obliged' to do His part.

Oh my...

Anyway, I digress. :) But really, it's so great to be able to relax and just "be" who I am wherever I am and with whoever I'm with, and that I'm not limited to any particular fellowship and that I don't feel at all that I have to exclude anyone from some 'other' fellowship.

John Fincher said...

It is amazing what you'll hear if you just listen! :) And I like YOUR thought!

And Joel, what can I add to your perfect addition to this discussion?

Blessings to you both!