Jesus talked about this dream when He challenged us to be like salt and light in the communities where we are placed.
“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 underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Usually preachers use the salt analogy to talk about the preservative impact of Christians in culture, that we are there to mitigate against the sin, decay and corruption of a fallen world. However, while there is some truth to that, I don’t think that’s the primary point Jesus is making.
Consider: The main use of salt is in cooking, and its greatest asset is that it adds flavor. It suppresses bitterness, develops both the savory and sweet sides, and enhances aromas — all by drawing out the good that is intrinsically there in the ingredients.
We should be like that at work — as followers of Jesus, we are the ones who add zest, taste and life to our environment (even if some of it is decaying). We are the ones who bring out the best in our neighbors. Somehow, by mixing with us, they catch a glimpse of God’s dream for them as individuals, and God’s dream for that wider community.
The “salt as flavor enhancer” posture is proactive rather than reactive, and gives a framework for transforming your workplace, neighborhood or family.
Are you that sort of “flavor enhancing” person at work/ school/ amongst your neighbors/ family?
The calling to be a town on a hill expresses Jesus’ desire that people will come to His followers for solutions to life’s problems.
We have access to the Creator of everything, who is Wisdom personified, so why shouldn’t this be the case? To see this happen, we first need to follow Jesus’ example and make the effort to inhabit the world and live out the Gospel in that specific place, to step outside of our comfort zone in order to meet people in their comfort zone. As we pray and live in that context, we will gain greater clarity as to how the Kingdom needs to be expressed and lived out in that specific community.
How To Transform Your Workplace
The ability to transform your workplace (or neighborhood, school, family, gym or wherever) is not a specialist task — this way of living is for ALL of us. Think about the NT church. Jesus set it up with the work largely done by nonprofessional Christians eg Paul tent maker, or Peter and John being seen as uneducated and untrained men (Acts4:13). Jesus’ original disciple making movement consisted of ordinary people achieving the impossible in the name of God.
Here are 5 simple steps to set you on your way:
1. It’s All About Jesus
Everything stands or falls upon your walk with Jesus. In order to enable you to transform your workplace or neighborhood, Jesus will keep on dealing with the world within you, in order to position you to change the world around you. We can’t see sustained breakthrough in the latter until we allow Jesus to gain sustained breakthrough in the former — that’s why some of our mission and disciple making efforts fail.
Where is Jesus changing you, so you can change the world around you?[Tweet “Where is Jesus changing you, so you can change the world around you?”]
2. Where Is Jesus Already At Work?
Look and see where God is already at work around you — and then join in!
He’s already FAR ahead of you in strategy and tactics. As you spot Him at work, consider how you can create a new community of Jesus followers in your circle of influence. Be intentional about developing friendships that lead to discipleship process, but at same time be ready to have good friends who might never come to Christ (because scalp hunting is not a Kingdom strategy).
It’s a Spirit-led decision to deeply invest in the lives of others, so identify where God has gone ahead to prepare the way.
Where is Jesus already at work at your work?[Tweet “Where is Jesus already at work at your work?”]
3. Show Compassion
One of the major reasons for the growth of the early church was the simple, practical acts of love and concern that characterized their interactions with others. Whether during famine or plague, it was the Christians who famously served their neighbors.
The same principle is equally effective today. Ask God out to show you the needs around you, and how you can help in a tangible way. As much as anything, it is your attitude that will shine through, so make sure that is in the right place!
How can compassion best be expressed in your place of mission?[Tweet “How can compassion best be expressed in your place of mission?”]
4. Invite Into Community
Most people want to know they are accepted before they will listen to you. In other words, they want to belong before they will believe. In order to transform your workplace, school or neighborhood, you need to work out how to form authentic community in that place. It might be as simple as where and who you eat lunch with, or what you can do to add an extra level of life and fun, or creating spaces where relationships can be developed.
What would authentic community look like amongst your colleagues or neighbors?[Tweet “What would authentic community look like amongst your colleagues or neighbors?”]
Pray for your place of mission. This means that you pray before, during, and after work or school. This means that you pray for your neighbors regularly, especially as you go about your life amongst them.
Only the Holy Spirit can convince people “of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John16:8). Only God can open the minds of people so that they can understand the Gospel and accept it. But you can pray — because prayer works and it will transform your workplace!
There are many things you can pray, so see how your ideas compare to my list of 7 Things To Pray For Your Place Of Mission — click here to view it!
If you had only one prayer for your neighbors and colleagues, what would it be?[Tweet “If you had only one prayer for your neighbors and colleagues, what would it be?”]
What steps are you already taking to transform your workplace, neighborhood or family?
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and experiences.
Want More On This?
- Check out my post on The 3 Top Actions Of Great Disciple Making — click here to view it. Then make sure you’ve signed up to receive an email each time there’s something new here!
- Connect personally with me via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+
- And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it via the social media buttons below. Thanks so much!