Summary: Do we know who we are? With all of our hang-ups, challenges, gifts, warts and all, “THIS IS US!” Understanding our identity is essential for our health.
This Is US!
Pt. 2 - Square Pegs & Spotlights
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” That was the declaration of the Ralph Ellison who was the author of the Invisible Man. Time and time again in Scripture we see folks who don't know who they are and they struggle and flounder . . . Abishai in the Old Testament, Saul and Simon in the New Testament. Once they discover who they are their life is changed . . . so much so that in the case of Saul and Simon they need new names . . . Paul and Peter. So many of us don't understand who we are and if Ralph Ellison is right, then we are not free we are bound. I believe the confusion about who we are results in the blood bought from operating at the level of effectiveness, influence, and authority that is ours. That is why I am so thankful that Jesus took time to climb a mountain to clearly speak to us and informs of us about us. Point by point He lays out for us precise information about who we are and how we are to live. Jesus literally goes into great detail to tell us "This is us!" So we began by saying that this is US . . . blessed. Let's continue this examination of US.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, it cannot be made salty again. Salt is useless if it loses its salty taste. It will be thrown out where people will just walk on it. “You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. (Easy Read Version)
Jesus says . . .
This is us . . . "Square Pegs!"
Jesus uses two illustrations to tell us that we are responsible for God being seen.
He first says we are salt. Salt was a valuable commodity in the day of Christ. In fact, Roman soldiers were paid in salt. The word from which we get salary is a Latin word "solarium" which means "Salt Money". So Jesus is drawing on the prominence and value of salt and says we are the salt of the earth. We have taken that same statement and changed it to "that man is worth his salt." Salt has three distinct properties. It preserves. One man said, "We protect society from the full sway of evil that would otherwise be unleashed on the world. Salt brings flavor or seasoning to food. Finally, it irritates when placed on a wound but that irritation also purifies and aides in healing.
Those 3 properties very clearly speak to our role in our world.
Jesus is also trying to illustrate for us that we are not going to fit in! He tries to save us from wasting our energy and efforts to be like everyone else. He tries to save us from the struggles that so many of us faced in high school and then carry into our adult lives. We aren't supposed to be like those around us. We are supposed to be different. In fact, our difference is what makes us unique and effective.
We are supposed to be salty! The way we live our lives is supposed to bring a new taste, a new flavor to the table. We are supposed to be a little irritating!
We are supposed to be living in such a way that we stand out in stark contrast to those around us.
Then notice what Jesus says . . . If we lose our difference and distinction . . . look and act just like the world . . . the world will throw out our truth and walk right over us.
We are marginalized because we have minimized our difference!
Our continued attempts to be more like society than like Jesus has resulted in society rejecting the Jesus in us!
Jesus says this is us . . . Square pegs, different, unique, strange, and aliens!
Quit trying to fit in! Quit trying to adapt. Quit trying to adjust Quit trying to blend in. Our difference is what makes us different! If you are like them, then you can't lead them!
A disappointed salesman, who had made his best pitch but failed to close the deal, reported to his supervisor and said "I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." The supervisors response was "your job isn't to make him drink it is to make him thirsty!"