Summary: We make Christ known by being present an active in the world... by making a difference.
Title: Who We Are
Text: Matthew 5:13-20
Thesis: We make Christ known by being present and active in the world… by making a difference.
Good Housekeeping Magazine cites the five most common things people notice when they visit someone’s home. Here’s the list of the five most common things people will notice if they visit your home. (“Five Things People Notice,” Good Housekeeping, November 2006, P. 42)
Guests in your home will notice if there is mail lying around.
Guests in your home will notice cat hair and dog hair and dust bunnies and cobwebs. I guess the implication is that typical guests sneak off to peak under beds and peer into the corners and recesses of your home in search of dust bunnies and cobwebs. Maybe it’s time to get one of those Swiffer thingies…
Guests in your home will notice a messy bathroom. There’s nothing like a bathroom where users have bad aim or there is toothpaste spattered on the mirror or you wash your hands in a gunky sink you and have to dry your hands with a really ratty and gross hand towel.
Guests will notice dirty dishes in the sink. That’s why you are supposed to put them in the oven.
Guests will notice full to over-flowing trash cans. Bonnie just bought one of those fancy stainless steel cans that you just wave your hand over the lid and it opens and you drop your trash in… I preferred the old one that I could fill doing bank shots off the wall. Guests might pick up on that…
So we know that even if people are not deliberately checking out our homes they will see stuff if they visit. So I think it is safe to assume that the people we encounter will check us out and see the stuff of our lives as well. So what do we want people to see when they see us?
The very first thing Jesus teaches his followers is that we are to make a favorable impression on those who observe our lives.
This morning we see that Jesus gives his followers and identity.
I. Who We Are! The Followers of Christ are given an Identity
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13 and 14
Jesus, using the literary device that we call a metaphor, identifies us as salt and light. He said, “You are the salt of the earth.” And he said, “You are the light of the world.”
We are salt and salt is to be savored. We are light and light is to be seen. The presence of both is apparent as is the absence of either. Things either taste good or they taste bad. You can either see things or you cannot see them.
We are salt. We are light. Knowing that we are salt and light is supposed to give us a clue into who and what we really are and hopefully that knowledge will affect the way we live.
In his book Leaving Home, Garrison Keillor tells a fictional story about a family from Lake Wobegon, Minnesota. Grace Tollefson married Alex Campbell back in the 1930s, a man who turned out to be a ne'er-do-well. They had three kids—Earl, Marlys, and Walter. One day Alex left Grace. Penniless, she was forced to move back home to live off the kindness of folks there, enduring the relentless "I-told-you-so's" of her mother. It was humiliating. But one day they got a letter from a man in Philadelphia doing research on Scottish nobility, who asked who their ancestors were so he could look it up. Grace wrote the man back and a few days later another letter came in the mail. Though the envelope was addressed to Mrs. Grace Campbell, the letter was addressed to "Your Royal Highness." In the letter the man wrote: "Today is the happiest day of my life as I greet my one true Sovereign Queen." He went on to say that their branch of the Campbell family was first in the line of succession of the House of Steward, the Royal Family of Scotland.
Can you imagine that… the Royal Family of Scotland living in Lake Wobegon in a green mobile home furnished with furniture donated by the good people at Pastor Inquist’s Lutheran church and Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility Catholic Church.
They were astounded beyond words. Here they were in their same dismal place but everything had changed. They were different people. Their surroundings were the same, but they were different. They were Scottish royalty.
Years later, the youngest son, Walter, found out the whole business was a fraud. But he never told his mother or his brother and sister, because thinking you are royalty, whether anyone else knows it or not, changes a person. At the end of the story, Grace is much older, and she says to her son: Oh, Walter, what would I do without you? You're so strong. You're so good to me. You're a prince, you know. (Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home, Viking Press, 1987, pp. 140-141, 145)