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Summary: A Secret discipleship does not exist in God's kingdom. Either secrecy destroys discipleship, or discipleship destroys secrecy. Salt in a shaker or a light hidden makes no impact. You are called to poke holes in the darkness. (5 additional illustrations)

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For those not familiar with an Anglican Service there are four Scripture readings prior to the Message. Today's assigned readings are: Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 112:1-10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 and Matthew 5:13-20.

A quiet forest dweller ... lived in the mountains ... high above ... a Swiss village ... along the eastern slopes ... of the Alps.

The elderly gentleman ... had been hired many years ago, by the town council ... to clear away debris ... from the pools of water ... that fed the lovely spring ... flowing through their town.

With faithful, ... silent regularity, ... he patrolled the hills, ... removing leaves and branches, ... and clearing away the silt ... that would otherwise choke ... and contaminate .... the Fresh flow ... of water.

By and by, ... the village became ... a popular attraction ... for vacationers.

Swans ... floated along the crystal-clear spring, ... ...mill wheels of various businesses located along the waterway ... turned ... with regularity.

The Farmlands were irrigated, ... and the views from the towns ... eating establishments ... were picturesque ... beyond description.

Years passed. (Pause)

One evening ... the town council met ... for its semiannual meeting.

As they reviewed the budget, ... one man's eye caught the salary figure being paid ... to the obscure keeper ... of the mountain spring.

Said the towns treasure, ... "Who is this old man?

Why do we keep him on ... year after year?

No one ever sees him.

For all we know ... this ranger of the hills ... is doing us ... no good.

He isn't necessary ... any longer!"

By a unanimous vote, ... they dispensed with ... the old man's services.

For several weeks, ... nothing really changed.

By early autumn ... the trees began to shed their leaves.

Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, ... hindering the rushing flow ... of sparkling water.

One afternoon ... the townsfolk noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint ... in the spring.

A few days later ... the water was ... much darker.

Within another week, ... a slimy film covered sections of the water ... and a foul odor ... was soon detected.

The mill wheels moved slower, ... some finally ground to a halt.

Swans left the town ... as did ... the tourists.

The Clammy fingers of disease and sickness .... ...reached deep ... into the village.

Quickly, ... the embarrassed council ... called a special meeting.

Realizing their gross error in judgment, ... they hired back the old keeper ... of the spring.

Within a few weeks .... the veritable ... river of life ...began to clear up.

The wheels started to turn, ... and new life returned once again...to the hamlet ... in the Alps. (Pause)

This story ... is more than ... an idle tale.

It carries with it ... a vivid ... relevant analogy ... directly related ... to the times ... in which we live.

Beloved ... What the keeper of the springs meant to the Swiss village, ... The followers of the Christ ... ...Christians ... mean ... to this world.

Christians may seem unimportant, Or ... a nuisance to the world, ... to many who do not believe.


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