Monday, February 17, 2014

Salt and Light

Watching and Wondering

Written by Dr. Bill Bagents

The recent snow caused notable disruption to school and work schedules, but I deemed our part of the weird weather a minor event. The newspaper came every morning. Mail delivery was uninterrupted. The power never failed. We didn’t miss a meal. So many in other areas did not fare so well. We were notably spared.

I’ll admit being perplexed by some of what I heard and saw. Why would anyone think that traffic lights no longer apply because there’s snow on the street? Why would anyone think it makes sense to drive at normal speeds on icy roads? What do people do with all that bread and milk they buy? Do they really think we’re going to be homebound for weeks?

There are things I loved to see under our recent weather conditions. I loved to see people checking on their neighbors. I loved to see families playing together and taking pictures so they can enjoy the memories all the more. I loved people who choose virtually any topic of conversation other than the weather. I loved how the beautiful white snow totally transforms the formerly drab landscape.

The snow worked out pretty well for me. I never missed a day of work and was blessed with major blocks of uninterrupted time. I was reminded again of the limits of technology and human knowledge. There was too little snow to feel compelled to build a snowman. Though I broke my 99 cent ice scraper on the window of the truck, Laura quickly found another one. Neither of us slipped or fell even once.

As surely as I watch and wonder during stressful events, others must do that as well. What do they see in us? Resilience? Flexibility? Patience? Wisdom? General good cheer and good will? Gratitude that things are as well as they are? Respect for God and His creation? Willingness to help others, even (especially) strangers?

As surely as we watch, God also watches. He doesn’t have to wonder because He knows our thoughts, fears, motives, desires, reasons, and opportunities. Psalm 139 documents that so well. What does He see when He watches us? I hope He sees growth, progress, improvement, and maturity. I hope He sees the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). I hope He sees Christ being formed in us (Ephesians 4:11-16, Philippians 2:5-11).

Some say that crises and other unusual events reveal our character. Such things may cause us to lower our guard, forget our filters, and remove our masks. But we all know that life reveals our character. In so many small moments when we don’t realize that people are watching, they really are. Moment by moment we have opportunity to be salt and light to the glory of God (Matthew 5:13-16). What a blessing to use those moments well.

We don’t want to send mixed messages. We don’t want to make others wonder, “Am I seeing a real believer, or is this person just another fake?” This world needs more real-to-the-core, 24/7/365 Christians.

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