Being Salt and Light as a Hope Giver
Hope. A word that many of us are having a hard time resonating with right now. Why is that? Everything that we define as “normal” is out the window. Traditionally, this time of year we are gathering with friends and family and going to Christmas parties. But here we are, mid-December, where consistency is rare and our only option is to wait for whatever comes next. When we feel like we are powerless, we lose hope.
There is an account in the New Testament which shows such a beautiful picture of hope and it has to do with a man who had leprosy. In the ancient world, leprosy was something that destroyed your life. If you had the disease your community believed that you must have done something sinful to deserve it. In addition to the pain and disfiguration you would have felt, you were deemed an outcast. That means complete isolation.
So, what happened to this man?
“While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ (Luke 5:12-16).”
This man who hasn’t touched anyone for months? years? found a spark of hope in Jesus. He had so much hope he fell with his face to the ground and begged. Think about how painful it would that have been for him to move this way because of the sores on his body. And what did Jesus do? He TOUCHED him. Could you imagine being treated like an outcast for who knows how long, and just like that, your worth is restored? You see, there is a difference between having hope in the things that we consider normal and having hope in Jesus. Having hope in Jesus is constant. Having hope in Jesus is secure.
Having hope in Jesus is life.
There is a family at our church who say to one another “you know God is working in the life of another person if they are talking to you.” What they mean by this is that as Christ followers, we have the opportunity to treat everyone differently by reflecting Jesus everywhere we go, and every interaction puts them in a unique position to share true hope. The hope of Jesus. Imagine the impact our church could have if we all chose to be salt and light as hope givers? It could be extraordinary.
So how do we tangibly do this? This sometimes this can feel really scary, and the trick is reminding yourself that it is God who does the work in the hearts and minds of people. It’s just really cool that He uses us to do it! So, if for some reason someone shoots you down, it’s okay. You did not fail. Rest in the fact that you took a step in an uncomfortable direction because you understand the importance of true hope.
Ways to be salt and light this week as a hope giver:
While out and about
- Choose a certain amount of cash to carry and before you leave the car, ask God to bring someone to your mind that it should go to. Wherever you are, if God nudges you, give that person the cash. Here is the important part. Make sure to ask them how you can pray for them.
- When you are at the store, pay attention the clerk helping you. When you ask how they are doing, be intentional to ask again (“are you really doing okay or are you just saying that?). Make sure they are heard and seen.
- Ask your waiter or waitress how you can pray for them. Give them a noticeably sizeable tip.
- Invite someone to a Christmas Service.
- Offer to babysit for a family with small children or for a single parent. Ask how you can be praying for them before they leave
- Invite someone to Christmas Service via watch party
- Shovel your neighbor’s driveway or car windows
- Have a “serve” day in your own home where your family intentionally serves one another.
- Make cards and send them to local nursing homes with your favorite Bible verse
- Order another family pizza and send them a message to ask how you can be praying for them during the Christmas season
- Leave handwarmers and Chapstick for your postal workers with an invite to Christmas services.
- Pray for God to bring to your mind another family that you can bless with groceries
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. -1 Peter 3:15
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. -Romans 8:24-15