02042023 – Matthew 5. 13-20
I took the gospel seriously. I spoke on SALT and LIGHT. It was ok. Nothing earth-shattering. Maybe not even interesting to some. And then, I decided I am “over that.”
Probe deeper. Take another look.
And even as I looked, something else appeared and jumped off the page. I was relieved. Filled with gratitude. Another possibility.
My mind drifted, then soared.
“YOU KNOW, THERE IS NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE TO THOSE WHO TRY.”
Sometimes, it’s all about trying…looking again. Looking deeper. Trying one more time. Having hope.
I was reminded of the small child painting a picture of God. And the teacher STERNLY said. “You can’t draw a picture of God! No one has ever seen God.”
To which the small child gleefully replied, “They will when I am done!”
“FAILURE IS NOT FATAL.” Everybody fails sometimes…and most live to tell about it.
“BELIEVE YOU CAN, AND YOU ARE HALFWAY THERE.”
Why doesn’t anyone tell us this stuff when we are younger? OR IS IT THAT WE FORGET? Or is it, that LIFE beats it out of us? And wears us down…And DESPAIR clouds over?
I think of the child saying, “I can’t do it IT’S TOO HARD…”
“YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS.” You are capable of accomplishing hard things…But no one usually tells us that…
“OUT OF A MOUNTAIN OF DESPAIR-A STONE OF HOPE.” Sometimes, that’s all we need is just that little tiny small stone of hope.
“DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO DIM “YOUR SHINE” BECAUSE THEY ARE BLINDED.” “TELL THEM TO PUT ON SUNGLASSES!”
“WHAT LIES BEHIND YOU AND WHAT LIES IN FRONT OF YOU, PALES IN COMPARISON TO WHAT LIES INSIDE OF YOU.” Unleash the inner you.
Trust yourself. Look within. Seek. Search.
“THE BAD NEWS IS that TIME FLIES…THE GOOD NEWS IS…YOU’RE THE PILOT.”
And finally, “YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO SET “ANOTHER GOAL” OR “TO DREAM A NEW DREAM.” Don’t ever stop dreaming. Keep those goals coming…
So, I realized Jesus was “this BIG MOTIVATOR.” I didn’t always see it, that way. But now, it jumped off the page at me.
I don’t even know if he saw HIMSELF that way. So I read, and reread the gospel for today. The Sermon on the Mount.
We’ve heard it all before. Maybe, sometimes, we need to hear it again. And this time, listen closely. INTENTLY. Look with fresh eyes.
They tell me that MOTIVATION stems from a variety of sources.
People are motivated by external incentives, like a paycheck, good grades, or for internal enjoyment because it is what they enjoy doing. Like creating artwork in one’s spare time… woodworking, crocheting, or doing crossword puzzles…maybe it’s your relationship with your animal companion. It gives you motivation and drive and keeps you going…and moving.
Other sources of motivation include curiosity, personal freedom, validation of one’s identity and beliefs, creating a positive self-image, and the desire to avoid potential losses.
All kinds of things motivate us…including guilt, fear, and shame.
But these were not Jesus’ methods. Jesus motivated through “positive messages of hope and encouragement.”
Consider the sermon on the mount, at one point, Jesus turns and says, “YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” can you imagine that?
Just WHO was he talking to?
Who was he looking at?
Before him stood this motley crew of poor people, farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, people displaced off their land, housewives, beggars, and women of the streets, in a tiny and remote backward village in an obscure part of the world and Jesus was telling THEM ALL, YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
What a statement of faith!
What a crazy idea!
It must have sounded somewhat funny!
Light of the world. That bunch? All those illiterate-uneducated people without means. It must have sounded completely and totally absurd, even to them.
YOU TALKIN TO ME? (kind of moment.)
Only Jesus could look out and see the God-given possibility, the God-given potential…that existed…
Who would have thought that ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE could have ANY EFFECT whatsoever on this world of ours?
Even as he said it, it must have sounded like “idle chatter” just MORE rhetoric! A nice speech.
But the thing was, he, REALLY MEANT IT!
Then, he went on…
“YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD,” he said.
And, I am sure some of them, maybe even many of them scratched their heads, wondering just WHO he was talking to.
CERTAINLY NOT ME! YOU AINT TALKIN’ TO ME
“HOW CAN we possibly be the light to anyone or to anything?”
We have neither money nor prestige nor means. We are poor. We are uneducated. We tired. We are beaten. We are broken. We are completely without resources. We are nobodies in a world of somebodies. Insignificant. Unimportant. Without power or influence.
But the funny thing was.
Jesus did see the potential.
He saw things, “they” could never see.
He saw the possibility.
He saw the bigger picture.
He saw WHAT others could not see.
It is because of them.
It is because of his faith in them.
That, we SIT HERE TODAY!
They felt a responsibility for others.
They had something the world desperately needed.
They were unafraid to share with others.
They were NOT the source of light, but they reflected a MUCH GREATER LIGHT.
Go, and BE a motivator to/and/for others…
Do! (because you can, you are capable)
Our world desperately needs YOU.