by Rick Rocco ◊ Aug 17, 2012
Matthew 5:13-16 says, “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 by men. 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
As I travel throughout this great area of Connecticut, I am amazed at the history that I pass. All the incredible structures we call churches that dot the landscape of New England. Maybe I notice them most because I’m a pastor; maybe because I’m kind of a historian, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that when I see them I think of all the people that have gone through them and how the Lord might have changed their lives and the spiritual climate of the area around them.
I live in an area where I have at least five steeples in sight from my home. I love when it’s 6pm and the church bells start to ring in unison. Some steeples have sounds of electronic sounding bells while others share the old-fashioned, realistic sounds of old world. It brings me back to a time that I haven’t lived; a simpler time, a time when the church had a voice and a mission. I saw a gravestone in the center of town the other day. It read, “Rev. Samuel Street ~ First Pastor of the First Church of Christ (The Congregational) He was ordained in 1675 ~ He died Jan. 16, 1717.” I wonder how many people found Jesus and how many generations were changed because of Pastor Samuel. My prayer is that I can make that kind of impact during my lifetime.
The Bible tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He isn’t talking about these beautiful buildings, but about us. We are His church, His building. We are the salt, or the seasoning, of our area of influence. We are the carrier of the flame of the Lord and we should be a shining attraction to all those around us. Wherever we meet, whether in an old, historic building with a steeple and pews or a modern, contemporary building with a synthesizer and padded chairs, we need to shine God’s love to this lost generation. Salt and light means that we have an influence. If we lose our saltiness or put our light under a bowl, then we are no longer any good for the salvation work of the Lord.
Jesus tells us in Revelation chapter 2 that the church of Ephesus lost its first love. Basically, they were doing all the right things but forgot why they were doing them. Therefore, Jesus would take their lamp stand from them. The lamp stand is just that, a stand for the lamp or the light. The light is the spiritual influence in the area. It’s no wonder why so many beautiful church buildings stand empty every Sunday. We’ve somehow lost our way and church has just become a ritual that some of us do on a weekly basis. I know that is not what God has for us. In fact the opposite is true.
I pray that the former beauty pails in comparison to the latter beauty. We haven’t seen the fullness of God’s glory yet. He has hope for New England and so should we. Let’s do life outside the four walls of the church building and see what can happen!
Matthew 5:16 tells us, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
There is an incredible quote in 1 Corinthians 2:9 and I believe it with all that is within me: “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’”
Let’s believe together that God isn’t done with our town, region, or state yet. He has just begun a new work that He will see through completion. Until next time, Faith Matters.
Richard “Rick” Rocco is the Pastor of Frontline Christian Church, 2340 State Street, Hamden. For more information, please visit www.frontlinecc.com or call 203.287.9417.