Being a Blessing to The World

What does it mean to be a Christian?

A simple question with any number of correct answers. But one of the repeated descriptions of believers in the bible has to do with the impact we have on the world around us.

In the Old Testament, believers are to be “a blessing to the nations” –

Genesis 12:2 – “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

Genesis 18:18 – “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.”

In the New Testament, believers are to be “salt and light” –

Matthew 7:13-16 – “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 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

But I don’t think we always consider the aim of our faith in such terms. We think more in terms of being good enough, or doing enough to get by. But that’s not the attitude we’re called to have.

This is a common biblical malady. In Luke 10 when Jesus instructs an “expert in the law” to love his neighbor, the man’s follow up question isn’t “how?”, but “who is my neighbor?” He was asking the wrong question, not striving to be salt and light, but just wanting to get by with the minimum.

In Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus how often he has to forgive someone. Jewish custom said three times was enough, so when Peter suggests seven he was feeling quite generous. But Jesus replies with not seven, but seventy-seven. Peter just wanted to get by, but Jesus wouldn’t let him, and he won’t let us.

In ministering to high school students, a common question in terms of their sexuality is “how far is too far?”

I always tell them, “you’re asking the wrong question.” And I say the same to us. When thinking of giving, we shouldn’t simply ask “how much must I give?” Don’t just shoot for not being selfish, strive for utter and total selflessness.

I’ll leave you with a shining biblical example of what this looks like.

It’s found in the book of Ruth, chapter 2. Ruth is gleaning discarded grain in a field owned by Boaz. Old Testament law required farmers to leave some of their crops to help the poor. (“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” ~ Lev. 19:9-10)

But in verses 15 and 16 this is recorded: “As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, ‘Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.'”

He didn’t do just enough to get by, but went above and beyond what was required because Boaz was concerned about being salt and light, about being a blessing to the world around him.

If Christianity is to have the reputation that it should, if people are to see Christianity as attractive and worth following – it will require the church and its members to exhibit a heart like Boaz’s.

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