Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 5:10-13 – Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. (ESV)
When it is sunny, I walk around our nearby lake and watch the wildlife as they carry on their existence. I have noticed the reliance of the young fledglings upon their parents, who watch over them. When they are happy they "peep, peep" away as they follow each other on the adventure of life. They snuggle up close together in the shadows during the heat of the day. In some way, they are connected, plugged-in, to an awareness of their particular family — its conventions, safety, and schooling in survival. Those that are not come to an untimely end!
Much has been made of the breakdown of the connectedness of our western society, and how that breakdown in connectedness is related to the generation of fear, stress, and crime. Put simply and positively, the higher the level of social connectivity, the safer we feel and the happier we are.
Those swans and cygnets in their favoured relationship with each other got me thinking about how connected we are with Jesus. Maybe what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes was not so much how to live as a disciple, but rather, if we want to be true disciples, happy and favoured by God, then each of us must be connected to Jesus, and the rest follows. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus enabled His disciples to be distinctive, because, through grace and faith, they were connected to God.
If we are connected — plugged in — to Jesus by daily worship, prayer, and thanksgiving, then we cannot be anything else but His salt and light to whomever and wherever God sends us, because He abides in us.
John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (ESV)
Prayer: Lord, like the cygnets, we say, "Peep, peep," because we know we can rest, safe and happy, in Your loving care. Please, Lord, let Your light shine, grant us forgiveness of our sins, and deliver us from the evil that would rob us of Your peace and presence as we go with You into the day ahead. We ask it in the name of our Saviour, Jesus. Amen.