Go, and be an irritant

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14” You are the light of the world- like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matt. 5:13-16, NLT)

The use of salt and light reflect on how we are to live as believers in our society. We are not to withdraw and be separatists. Yet, we cannot hold out hope for a “Christian” government. We are the preserving agent, and anyone who argues otherwise is choosing to read history with their own stained glass readers.

In reading some commentaries on this passage in my study, I also found this thought:

But we must remain active preservative agents, indeed irritants, in calling the world to heed God’s standards. (New American Commentary on Matthew)

Irritants.

I am liking that word, to be honest. It is a great word in a day when the powers that be in Washington can’t get things ironed out. I can say with some sense of glee: “A pox on both your houses!”

Why? Because I’m called to be an irritant!

But not just for the sake of being irritating. Some people REALLY have that gift…

But to shed true light in areas of darkness. The things of darkness are irritated when light comes around.

So, BEHOLD, go forth and be an irritant for Jesus today!

Nothing Good Happens at 2 a.m.

There was a radio show that ran in the Twin Cities called “Garage Logic.” I think it still runs in a smaller time slot, but the station has been taken over by sports talk and “Garage Logic” has been severely scaled back.

The premise of the show was just common sense. One of their favorite sayings was that “Nothing good happens at 2 a.m.” In other words, just tell your kids to get home at a decent hour.

It is generally true. Murders, muggings, anything that might be something serious in our city generally has a time frame of midnight to 5 a.m. When our boys were first learning to drive there was a tragic story in our own neighborhood where some kids convinced their friend (a new driver) to sneak his dad’s car keys and go for a joy ride. The joy ride ended up in all four of them killed as they wrapped the car around a light pole. It was around 3 a.m.

Common sense. We seem to lack it these days.

There are certain things that are labeled as “part of the night” because the historical connotation is that very little good happens in the context of the night.

This is Paul’s warning in 1 Thessalonians 5. Again, we have tended to SCARE each other with these passages, but Paul again says, “Comfort each other” with these words!

It’s simple. There are things that happen that are labeled as “darkness.” Paul says it’s not a worry because you are not of that darkness. If you are in the light you don’t act that way. It’s fairly simple. That’s how you comfort each other in these last days! Just BE LIGHT.

But, we as the Church seem to be caught up in being “dark” to the world. We want to be liked so desperately we’ll do “dark” stuff. We brag on it. We revel in it. We cheer it on. And forget that “nothing good happens at 2 a.m.”

Then, we get smacked down or smacked around from playing a “dark” game and we look around like, “What happened?”

Well, you were out at 2 a.m., spiritually speaking.

We need to heed these words again in our own lives as we contemplate ADVENT:

All of you are children of light and children of the day. We don’t belong to night or darkness. So then, let’s not sleep like the others, but let’s stay awake and stay sober. (1 Thess. 5:5-6, CEB)