This time of year causes us to reflect on the past, rest in the present and look forward to the future. I take this time through the blog to look a little closer at a passage of Scripture. We spend some time focusing on getting closer to God. I thought we might take a look at one of Jesus’ first opportunity to share with his followers; The Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew’s Gospel. Join with me over the next few weeks as we look at some excerpts from this passage. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The teaching in this passage are timeless and should be revisited from time to time. “The Sermon on the Mount” records the time when Jesus sat and taught some of the most significant lessons we will learn as Christians to his disciples. Let’s join together as we take a closer look.
How do we perform under the microscope? Will people see our true character? When they do will that reveal the love of Jesus? Will they see Jesus in us? All good questions but we don’t find the answer to them until the pressure is increased.
Many times in life and racing we find ourselves in pressure packed situations. We need to perform better to retain a sponsor. We need a good finish to secure our point standings. There are many opportunities to forget about everything and focus on our on track performance. Crunch Time!
There are times when we put that pressure on ourselves we do not represent God well. We lose sight of what we have been called to become in Christ. We revert back to a self-focused and a self-serving attitude. We forget to look around and be aware of those around us. We fail to see what others are going through. That is not the way we should live. We should be looking around for the opportunities that God has for us. When we turn our focus internally we do not see or hear the voice of God. Jesus encourages us to remember who we are called to be.
Matthew 5:13-16; “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 by men. “You are the light of the world. A city 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. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Jesus uses two analogies, salt and light. Let’s take a look at salt first. Do you use salt? We use it for different things such as to season food or melting ice. When we use it as a seasoning we do so to enhance the flavor. Take a look around and see if we are enhancing those around us. Are we making things better or worse?
We also use salt to change things. When we put salt on ice it melts and makes it easier to get around. Used in this way salt helps us overcome some of the obstacles we face. Are we helping others overcome obstacles?
Salt can also be corrosive, when used in the wrong way we can tear things apart. Too much salt in our diet leads to medical conditions that shorten our lives. What we have to be aware of is balance, just enough but not too much.
We are encouraged by Jesus to use the love of Christ that is in our hearts to improve the situation. We are encouraged not to lose our ability to influence the situations around us. Jesus cautions that if we lose our focus and our “salt” is no longer effective we become useless.
Let me stop here and explain. We have the opportunity each moment we live to affect those around us, either for good or bad. We decide how we will use our influence. When we choose to be destructive our ability to claim the love of Christ and help others is gone. Our witness is no longer respected. When we find ourselves under pressure we need to be aware of how we are demonstrating our faith. We need to remember who is in control. We need to avoid losing our saltiness, our credibility, our witness.
Think of it this way. We can be an egg or a carrot or coffee beans. Let me explain; when we place each one of these in the heat of the moment, boiling water, they react differently. An egg becomes hard-boiled. Its insides change from liquid to solid. Our heart gets hard. Carrots on the other hand get soft and mushy. They start off rigid and strong but end up all mushy, no backbone, no firm foundation to stand on. Now coffee beans on the other hand do not change, they remain the same. They do however change the water. The water becomes aromatic and tasty. The water becomes desirable. The coffee beans do not change but they improve the water. Which one are we? When pressure comes do we harden our heart, lose our foundation or influence the situation in a way that improves it? Don’t lose your saltiness.
Jesus then goes on to describe us as “the light of the world”. Have you ever thought of yourself as a light that shines for all to see? Jesus put in each one of us a light that will dispel the darkness. Don’t hide your light, let it shine.
Have you ever been in a dark place without any light? You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Then you light a match, a little flame and you are amazed at how much light it provides. We can be the same kind of light. We, as Christians, have the same opportunity to light the darkness others are experiencing. When all hope is gone the light of one who knows Jesus can bring hope to the world.
Think of trying to get around the house without the lights on. We think we know where things are, but we still stub our toe and stumble. When we hide our light we cause others to stumble around in the darkness. When we keep the love of God to ourselves and do not share it we leave others to find their own way in the darkness. Let your light shine! Put it on a lamp stand and help others find their way.
Jesus used these two analogies to demonstrate two important functions we have as Christians. We need to improve the lives of others and shine our light to help them find their way. Have we improved the lives of those around us or have we been an obstacle? The first lesson Jesus taught us in this passage is that we have a responsibility to lead others. Whether we realize it or not we are leading. Make sure you are leading people to what is right.
PREPARING TO HEAD SOUTH – I’ve seen many counting down the days until the racing season begins in Florida. We have a few venues we hope to be at, both dirt and asphalt. This opportunity gives us a chance to be with many of the touring series before they spread out across the country in pursuit of the championship. We are trying to cover as much as we can with reduced resources. Please pray for our Chaplains as they minister. Also, if you would like to partner with us we would welcome your help. Please check out the options partner with us on our website; rwjm.com/donate.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.