I’ll never forget a story my pastor told us many years ago. Before he became a pastor, he was a salesman. Each year, he and several of his associates, would attend a sales conference in a major city. One part he disliked about the conference was the amount of partying done by many of the men. Though he himself did not participate, each year he would travel along to avoid any ridicule.
One year he decided that he could no longer be a part of the group. He determined to arrive late so that they would have to leave without him. Yet just as he stepped into the lobby of the hotel, he heard some of the men call out to him, “Where have you been? We’ve been waiting for you!” Trapped again and lacking the courage to resist, he crawled into the taxi with the other men.
Suddenly he decided that he needed to take a stand. “Stop, let me out” he announced. “What’s wrong?” his friends asked. “I’m a Christian and I don’t enjoy going to the bars. I’m going to stay here.” Many of the men looked at him in a mocking way, but he didn’t care; he had finally done what he knew that he should have done all along. Just then, another man in the car said, “Let me out also. I too am a Christian and I’m not going either.” The rest of the men looked at them strangely and then drove off. Smiling at each other, my pastor and his Christian brother went up to their rooms and began to pray for the salvation of their friends.
Later that night, someone began pounding on my pastor’s hotel door. Half-awake he went to the door and found one of the men who had gone to the bar. “I don’t know what it is that gave you the courage to do what you did, but I need it. My marriage and life is falling apart and I need help.” In the early hours of the morning, my pastor led that man to the Lord.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:13-16 NLT)
It is not our place to judge the world; neither is it our place to join in. We are here as God’s royal ambassadors to reveal to men the life-changing power of the gospel. Many have said that as salt, we are here to help prevent further moral decay in our culture. As light, we are here to illuminate the truth. It took several years for my pastor to gain the courage to take a stand, but when he finally did, God used him in a powerful way.
Perhaps you are in a situation where you need to take a stand for the cause of Christ. Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” I pray that today, our light will shine bright today for Jesus.