There is a crossroad that every Christian will have to pass through as they grow in faith. It is the crossroad of life - the giving away or hoarding. Maybe "crossroad" isn't all that accurate. There are more than one. In fact, it becomes a daily decision - daily crossroads.
These crossroads are nothing new. They've been around for thousands of years.
God first used Abraham to be the life-giver to those around him. Abraham was blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:3). Then it was the Jews - they were to be the light of God to the darkest nations.
When God needed to go bigger to show humanity how it's done, He sent His son to enter our depraved world - provoked to bring life out of the death of sin. Finally, God has called us, followers of Jesus, to bring the life giving spirit of Jesus Christ to the world around us.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, "You are the salt of the Earth ..."
You are the preservers. You are the redeemers. You are what makes this world good.
Michael Metzger said, "When confronted with the corruption of our world - Christians ought to be provoked to engage, not offended and withdrawn."
It's so easy to not be salt - to be offended and withdrawn from the culture around us. The world is a dirty place, with messy problems and even messier people. When we live consumed with staying holy or pure and refusing to follow God's model of getting messy to heal the broken, we FAIL to be salt.
There are two things we can begin to do today in order to bring life to those that need it most:
• Choose engagement over condemnation.
Christians who bring life possess the capacity to see goodness, truth and beauty in most every creation. We can view culture as the enemy and persecutor of our beliefs, or we can engage with culture and begin to change it from the inside out.
A former student and good friend of mine is making inroads with the hip-hop community. He produces beats and writes his own music that just makes you want to bounce your head.
Some people would consider his choice in music as detestable. I commend him. He's putting music about God's love and grace out there in a subculture that knows only the way of drugs and violence. He's engaging the culture from the inside out.
What will you engage in order to bring God's life giving spirit?
• Choose grace over judgment.
Grace is active; it seeks out, responds and loves deeply ... deeper than any sin.
We bring life by exercising grace. By choosing to say, "I don't care what you've done, what you are doing. ... I'm going to love you because Jesus loves you and me the same."
Romans 5:8 says, "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
Grace is the ultimate act of love. Choose grace to bring life.
• Justin Simmons is the Student Ministries pastor at Capital Christian Center in Carson City.