The biggest mistake of Christians (especially evangelicals) who are longing for a changed world is where they look for the kingdom of God.
Luke 17:20–21 (NIV) 20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
They wanted to know signs of the times. They wanted to be able to be the first to predict and be prepared for the in break of God’s kingdom on earth to reestablish David’s rule. You will not see anything different, Jesus told them. The kingdom stands among you right now. People do not have to go out searching for it and come back reporting that they have found it here or there. The kingdom of God is present wherever Jesus is present. It is present in a different manner than they expected. Signs such as the healing of the lepers should show them the presence of the kingdom. – Butler
Matthew 5:13–16 (NIV) “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. “You are the light of the world. A town built 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Philippians 2:14–16a (NIV) Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky…
One thing is certain: in order to be salt and light, you must be confident in the God who entered a sinful world to redeem it. Though we are to be wise, we are not to fear the world in which God has placed us. Yes, things will get messy. But if you are humbled by the messiness of sin in your own life, yet confident in God’s grace to change you, you will not be afraid to get close to other sinners who need that same grace. God will use the messiness you encounter in others to spur your own growth in the gospel. – Tripp/Lane
Being “Salt” & “Light”
What ministry opportunities exist for you with the people God has put in your path?
Is there a struggling family in your neighborhood?
Is there a single parent at your child’s school?
Is there someone in your church who is lonely and discouraged?
Is there a teenager who needs to see how a family functions?
Are there relationships you can pursue through your children’s extracurricular activities?
Where are the needs for service, mercy, and help in your community?
Has God put an elderly person in your life who needs companionship?
Where are the poor in your community? How can you be a part of their lives?
Does your child have a friend who may benefit from time in your home?
Is there a coworker you can invite for dinner and a movie with your friends?
Do you know an elderly person who would enjoy the love of a family during the holidays?
Is there someone who is burdened or in crisis and in need of a retreat?
Is there another family who would enjoy time with your family?
Do you know a younger couple who could be mentored by an older couple?
If you are single, is there a family with young children who would benefit from your help? How might this bless you as well?
Lane, Timothy S., and Paul David Tripp. Relationships: a Mess Worth Making. New Growth Press, 2006.
Easley, Kendell H., and Christopher W. Morgan. The Community of Jesus: a Theology of the Church. B & H Academic, 2013.
Halter, Hugh, and Matt Smay. The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community. Jossey-Bass, 2008.