THE LAMP AND THE SALT

“In the Lord, put your trust.” Psalms 11:1

 

I want to share a story with you about the small town of Millersburg. Millersburg is a place where, even though it’s modern, time has stood still. If you were to take a scale and New York City was at the top of the scale, you would find Millersburg at the bottom of the scale. This small town is in Ohio, between Cleveland and Columbus and west of Pittsburgh, just to give you an idea of where it lies, a little NE of the center of the state, in Holmes County. This county is also home of many of the Amish who migrated to Ohio many years ago.

 

 

Right in the middle of Millersburg was the Post Office to the west of the town’s square. It was the central meeting place in Millersburg. The Postmaster, Mr. Denny, was a man who believed in animal rights. He never killed even a bug; he didn’t believe in hurting anything. So when a big beehive formed over the door, it didn’t bother Mr. Denny. It bothered everyone else in town, but Mr. Denny was at peace with the beehive being there. Every day as he went through the door, he would bless the bees. The other people would duck, crawl, and get through the door any way they could.

 

 

Over one long weekend, the beehive seemed to expand. It got so large that it blocked the whole top of doorway. Pretty soon, everyone in town was outside the Post Office looking through the door. They were on one side, the door with the beehive was in the middle, and the mail that they wanted to get was on the other side of the door.

 

 

They all started to complain. They called Mr. Denny and said, “Hey, we can’t get in to get our mail.”

 

 

Mr. Denny said, “Well, we don’t want to kill the bees.” So Mr. Denny had an idea. He would call a master bee keeper who could, somehow without hurting one single bee, move the bee hive and save the bees. This was quite a show. The whole town came out to see this master bee keeper work. It was quite a shock to the whole town when the master bee keeper came because considering the amount he was being paid, the people expected him to come with elaborate trucks pulling elaborate machinery, and be wearing a space suit with a screen mask.

 

 

Well, the beekeeper came up to the Post Office in a 1967 Chevrolet Bel Air. He had no equipment whatsoever. He was wearing a short-sleeved shirt—and not even wearing a glove. He had a ladder in his trunk. He opened the trunk, got out the ladder, and put it near the front door.   Everybody was just holding their breath.

 

 

He reached into the beehive with his naked hand and pulled out one single bee. When he pulled out this one single bee, he took it over to the 1967 Chevrolet Bel Air to an empty beehive that had been abandoned some time before. He put this one single bee inside the abandoned beehive, and then a miracle took place. The thousands of bees that were swarming up above the front door of the Post Office in Millersburg all came down from that beehive flew over and entered the hive in which he had put that one single bee. This was because the master beekeeper removed the queen bee. The worker bees followed the queen to their new home.

 

 

The whole theme of this story is that the queen bee is a “super bee”. You have the potential with God’s help to become a “super human,” like the queen bee and have others follow you.

 

 

We also have both queen thoughts and we have worker thoughts inside of us. Now, sometimes the queen thought is thinking about things like fear, anxiety, or anger. Sometimes the queen thought inside of us is thinking, “Oh, I’m no good. I couldn’t possibly do what I wish I could.” Whenever the queen thought is thinking that, the thousand worker thoughts follow along. No one thought EVER stands alone. They don’t even question. They just say, “Whatever you say, my queen and we will think this way.” The hive is our own mind and the life that we produce around it. We have all these thoughts swarming right now. Our human mind entertains 60,000 thoughts a day. The first thought is like a locomotive, and then it has a thousand train cars follow it, down the track in which you determine the direction. We think, “How do I change all of these thoughts? It’s so hard!” Change the queen thought, and watch the others follow naturally and easily.

 

 

When the queen type of thought accepts God as its ultimate leader or King, instantly the thousands of our “ worker thoughts” inside our own mind accepts God at the same time. When we shine this forth from our life a thousand people will see and follow. We will go from the hive of chaos and disease, into the hive of tranquility. We become the salt so of the earth, enhancing our and others’ thoughts and beliefs.

 

 

A large church had a big beautiful stained glass work. It represented the fields being white for the harvest. It was explained that the stained glass meant converts are ready to be converted.

 

 

The conversion experience happens inside, it happens daily inside of us if we are willing. Some days you have had a great faith where you could climb any mountain in your life, and other days you are at a low ebb and you feel like you couldn’t do anything. That is the time, (when you feel you can’t do anything), that you need to be converted again. It’s not up to the preacher, the priest, or the rabbi to do that. We are just a signpost pointing in the direction of God for you. It’s up to you to realize again and share the goodness of God with yourself. Then the spiritual transformation happens. As our devotion for Thursday and the accompanying music reveals – GOD RESTORES.

 

 

We must never lower Christianity to human weakness. We must raise human weakness to Christianity because God is the answer for all people. To rise to the very height inside of everyone’s self is what Christianity is about. To allow small thought to pull people down to a level of human weakness is no better than the dictator does in a small 3rd world country. God loves you and God constantly whispers in your ear sharing with you your potential. You have God-given goodness that is inside, and you can rise to what Jesus said you can become. The message of Jesus Christ is about your worth and your value as a child of God – that you ARE “the salt of the earth.”

 

 

Matthew 5, beginning with verse 13: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under-foot.”

 

 

In the days of Jesus, salt was a very expensive item. It was prized. What does salt do? It flavors. It enhances. It preserves. It makes things better. This is what you are to do, be such a shining example that you put flavor and vitality and zest into the whole office experience with your co-workers or in your marriage or with your family or wherever you are. You as a Christian are the salt.

 

 

Or, possibly, you consent, you surrender, to the spiritual seasoning of God to come through you. That’s empowering. You realize you do not have to do it yourself. You allow God to do it through you. The minute you surrender, the minute you allow God, it comes through and you do flavor your whole surroundings. You make everybody happier because you were there. You are the salt.

 

 

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.”

 

 

We just can’t hide what we are. We are on a hill. All people are looking at us. If we are spreading darkness and negativity, believe me, we are not hiding it. People see it. If we are spreading the light of God, people see that too. Even though they might never talk to you about it, even though they might never go to your church, you will make them better in their own religion, or in the dark moments of their lives, because of what you are.

 

 

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand”   Imagine you are a light. This body is a lamp stand. Where is the light? The light is your mind. It is your eyes and the way you perceive. It is the way you are thinking. Because of what you are thinking, you are radiating your being-ness to all around you. They know God is working in and through you.

 

 

“It gives light to all in the house.” ….  The house is the whole race of humankind. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your God in heaven.” (Emerson) Why? Because it is not you who is working—it is God working through you. People can see it; they realize it. You can’t hide it. There is no way you can hide it.

 

 

Like the electricity illuminating a light bulb, God will come through you.

 

 

Matthew 6:22: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness?”

 

 

Our eye, our perception of life and the way we view our life now, is where the spiritual power is. The light can come from inside of us, and it is a spiritual experience when it comes. And we know we can be and feel that we are “the salt of the earth.”

 

 

I want to share a story with you about S.F.B. Morse. Morse was the inventor of the telegraph. In an interview, he was asked if when he was working on his great invention that changed humankind in that day, if he ever got to the point where he could not go any further; where he had tried every idea that could come to him and he didn’t know where to go or how to proceed. He said, “Oh yes, more than once.”

 

 

The interviewer said, “At such times, what did you do next?”

 

 

He said, “May I answer you in confidence sir? It is a matter of which the public knows nothing. I prayed for more light and light came. Years later, when the flattering honors came because of my invention, I never felt I deserved them. It came, not because I’m superior to others, but because God gave the gift through me.”

 

 

You can imagine the excitement as the inventor prepared to send his first message on his telegraph. What is the first message he is going to type that will go down for all history? This is the exact message: “What hath God brought about?”

 

 

Light is a very real thing that happens in our lives. We cannot change others initially. But, there is only one person in all the world you can ever really change, and that’s yourself. That’s true even in the congregation or spiritual group as in our Bethel, as we call our prayer and discussion group, (http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com/?flash).  I can write these messages/ sermons, but I am only a signpost. You have to accept—the responsibility is on the listener just as it was in Jesus’ day.

 

 

As the salt of the earth and the lampstand, you can influence others by what you do and say. You may not meet them, or they might not ever discuss this with you, but you may profoundly change their life because of the way you are living yours. They see something in you that they want. That is the true act of the missionary to go out as a light in the world or as the salt in their world and flavor that whole world and make it better for everybody. Show them the better idea of themselves—show them what God can do through one human life. You will. You will succeed.

 

 

Follow Jesus the way any spiritual teacher you have ever had would want you to follow—by becoming the teachings and doing what He said you could do. Be the salt and let your lamp shine.

 

 

This has great power. It has wonderful, transforming, converting power inside of us. In the moment when we are facing a crisis in our lives, we can ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” “What would God do? What would God have me do?” “What is the loving thing to do?” Because God is love, we become love in action, that salt, that light of love and power in our lives.

 

 

“You have to “be about the Father’s business,” as Jesus once said. You are to be the “salt of the earth.”

 

 

Let us pray. In this moment, I pray that the special unique gifts of God open inside of you. I pray that you will funnel all the ideas of your life through your walk with God. I pray that the primary thoughts inside of your mind become thoughts of God, and all the lower thoughts follow God. I pray that you find well-being, balance, and harmony in your life because of the presence of God residing there. I pray that you become the salt of the earth and the lighthouse for all to see.

 

 

In the name and through the power of Jesus Christ . . . Amen.

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