Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A City On A Hill

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14,16 NKJV

Have you been a secret agent Christian. Are you fighting the evils of this world but you are live like you are undercover agent and really never get around to doing much of anything outside of your church. 

The Word does not say go to church and preach the gospel  - it says go into all the world and make disciples. Your life should not be hidden away behind the walls of your church. Your life should shine in your work place, in your home, in your community. We are to let our light shine before men. We love them till they ask why. So that they may see your good works and glorify God. Its not that we do good works to earn God's favor. We have that favor because we are His, because we have accepted Jesus as our antidote to the poison of sin. We do good works because God prepared them in advance for us to do. We become His agents in the world. We are the salt that preserves, the light that drives out the darkness. We are the city on the hill that is not hidden from view and can be seen for miles. Sadly too many Christians think that they have done their duty because they went to church and sat in a seat and maybe sang some songs.  Going to church may be like going to the gas station and getting filled up but then take that refreshing you received and spread it around. I'm not suggesting you go out and beat people up with the word and expect them to live by your standards. I'm suggesting you befriend people who are different than you and love them.
The homeless people we feed each week - know that this down town church serves a meal. They know that the people who they meet there treat them with respect and dignity. We don't expect them to pray before the meal or to hear the plan of salvation before, during or after the meal. We just love them. Most of them are pretty jaded and think that Christians are just looking to put notches in their salvation do good belt. Most of the Christians they see show up once to hand out stuff and they leave feeling they have done their part. There is a lot of extra "help" around the holidays. Really how many times does one need to get saved to get a coat?  Sometimes with these fly in and fly out groups  I have to wonder if it is motivated out of love but more out of guilt.  We are there pretty much every week and little by little they people learn to trust us enough to share their stories. Then one Sunday they will find the courage to come to church. Where they are surprised to see other people with back packs and the smells of the street allowed to sit where ever they feel comfortable. Some decide they want to change and we pray for them week after week and encourage them that God wants to help them.  Little by little we see lives begin to be transformed. 

I have a friend who works with exchange students. They come to America to be educated. She becomes like a mom to them helping them to adjust to the new culture. She has had them ask to go to church with her because they have never experienced a Christian church service. Most of the time she is a living Bible meeting them during the course of their days. Every day she loves them and after they go home she stays in touch with them. Sometimes she gets to go visit some of them who have become like family. She had no idea years ago when she got a job working in the College computer lab that God would use here to touch the world. 

Another friend works with young music students. When they come to their lessons troubled by something that has happened in their school or home she is able to pray with them. Every week they see how she acts and reacts and over time they grow to trust her. 

Another friend is a big social media guy. He post photos from what is happening in our services and at our meal. Many of his non christian social media friends have come to help with our meal. They think its cool and want to know why we do what we do every week. I'm sure he has some interesting conversations. 

I suppose my point is that you don't have to wait to do some big exploit for the Lord. It's awesome to get to go on mission trips but you can start right in your own neighborhood. You can bloom where you are presently planted. 

I remember working in an office and one of my co-workers was having a bad day. I asked if I could pray for her. I was really shocked by her answer. She said "Sure, no one has ever asked to pray for me." She was a woman in her 40's. How many people who's paths you cross each day have never been prayed for?

One of my favorite ways to share the Love of Jesus is to look for small things to do to help others. Maybe they need a ride. Or letting someone borrow your vacuum cleaner. Maybe they are grumpy need encouraged. Perhaps they are sick and need visited. Or that neighbor just had a baby and your family takes them a meal. Maybe that single mom needs a break from the kids.  wThe elderly person down the street needs some yard work or repairs done. 

There are lots of things we can do if we get our focus off of "me - me - me". We can spend our time, energy, worry and focus on our own problems, or we can trust them to the Lord and look for who around us we might be able to help in some way. Its amazing when you start to do that God sees your faith and the things that concerned us some how work out. Your problems may not instantly vanish into thin air but there is something powerful that happens when you help others. Your own load is somehow a bit lighter. 

We need to take our little light out side of the walls of our churches and let them shine every where we go. 

Prayer: Lord help us to be your ambassadors. Let our lives demonstrate the truths of your kingdom. Let our kindness speak louder than our words. Help us to love others till they ask us why. 

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