Years ago, when Juanita and I were newlyweds, she had a job working for a family-run packaging company. She struggled with the environment of that job because it was so carnal. There was constant family conflict in the upper management, which created a lot of uncertainty in the employees who weren’t part of the family or their drama. Juanita wanted to leave so badly that over a period of months she desperately responded to at least 50 job postings, but never once received even an acknowledgement of her applications, much less an interview. Eventually, we had no choice but to conclude and accept that though we couldn’t understand why, God clearly wanted her to stay at that job.
In Matthew 5:13-14, Jesus calls us “salt” and “light.” Salt and light profoundly affect the environment they are in. Salt enhances the flavor of food and light repels darkness. As Christians, we are called to influence the world around us, while not being influenced by the world ourselves. This is how we exist in the world while remaining separate from it. Jesus called us out of the world, yet He also said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Our separation is not meant to keep us hidden. It’s hard to ignore the presence of salt and light, and it should be even more difficult to ignore the presence of the church of God. In other words, our presence should be noticeable and it should be felt by the world around us in a positive way.
A few weeks after Juanita gave up her job search, she invited one of her coworkers to come to church with us. That morning, both her coworker and her husband became believers. The next Sunday, they brought their daughters who also accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The following week the aunts and uncles came forward. This continued for weeks as an incredible rebirth took place in that family, and Juanita was privileged to be part of it. At one point, our little group took up two entire rows in the church!
Not long after, we noticed a job posting for a local Christian camp. Without striving or stress, Juanita applied for that one job — and she was hired! It happened in God’s perfect timing.
You see, we are called to be set apart from the world, but we are also called to influence it by shining the light of Jesus Christ so bright that they are drawn to it. This fallen world can be a dark and ugly place, and as children of God we often feel uncomfortable and awkward in it. That’s because we don’t belong here — our citizenship is in heaven! Yet, for such a time as this, we are here and we have a purpose to fulfill for our Lord’s glory. We are called to be separate, not absent, so let’s go out and positively impact this world for Jesus Christ!