“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." - Matthew 5:13-16(NIV)
If all I have done with my life is convince others that I am a good person, a person to be trusted, than I have utterly, miserably failed in the one calling around which all the rest of my life was supposed to circle. If the "good deeds" of this life that I carried out were credited only to me, than I "missed the mark." All the praise and the accolade I may receive to my person is meaningless, unless it is turned heavenward.
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16(NIV)
I have spent most of my life being involved in volunteer or professional ministry in the church. Outside of that circle, as a Christian my life is supposed to be a light in a world corrupted by sin. I am to serve others because Christ serves others. I am to love others because Christ loves others. NONE of these things are supposed to point to ME but to HIM WHO SENT ME!
I was told by a non-Christian friend of mine that, though this person does not believe, he knows I'm "one of the good guys." At first, I was flattered... naturally I was! But as I thought about it... about the implications, I wondered, "What if that was all he ever got from me, that I was 'one of the good guys?' What if all he ever saw was me, when it was only Jesus who could change his life? What if I have gotten in the way of the ministry God has given me?" All the kindness I showed him in the world, all the care and discussion and friendship... would be meaningless. Because at the end of the day he'd still be in hell, and I'd be the one who didn't "make the most of every opportunity" (Colossians 4:5).
And I guess that's the point I want you to take home as you read this; that is the HEART of the issue. People live and die outside of the grace of Jesus every DAY! As we go through our lives, there are people on the path to HELL that we pass right by because we're afraid to speak, afraid to be judged, afraid to be wrong or challenged or rejected. It's like watching a man starve to death because we're afraid they won't like pb&j.
We hold the keys to LIFE people! Look at the people that you pass every day. Really look at them! Look at the students in your class, the people on the sidewalk, the families at the mall or grocery store or at your sporting event. The knowledge you have in Christ will save their lives. All that is necessary is for you to speak!
It's not enough that people like you or think you're a good person At the end of the day, you cannot save them. Only Christ can. He is the one who stands in the brink; who bears us into the presence of God every day of our lives. Don't be content to stand there and watch the dying pass. Be the breath of life from God, Himself.
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God." - 2 Corinthians 2:14-17(NIV)