• By Tony Harriman"
Ye are the salt of the earth ... Ye are the light of the World ... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:13, 14, 16.
You hear that term bandied about a lot right now: "Essential Workers." What exactly does that mean -- essential? Well, very basically, it means you can't do without it. Right now, around the world, great numbers of people are dying for lack of oxygen. Oxygen is essential for the life of the human being; just as, with few exceptions, a fish out of water will not survive for long. Right now front line healthcare workers, striving to provide that oxygen, are essential in the fight for life.
I'm sure we'll agree, "essential" is a relative term. A soldier is essential for the safety of most modern nations. A gas station is essential to keep the world moving. A hotel is essential for the business person who needs a place to stay while away from home. But couldn't we also agree that those things are only essential as they, and many others, are there only to help maintain the world as it is?
A handful of church congregations across the USA have defied the order to temporarily cease holding public services, stating that it's their constitutional right to congregate and that God will protect them (Heaven forbid the people should discover that their church's input was not so essential after all, and that the people should learn to live without a priest offering their petitions to the Throne of God). The majority of churches have joined the internet ranks and have taken to streaming services online -- nothing really new about that. I have three daughters, each of whom is no stranger to streaming their church services. Personally I would prefer they enjoy the fellowship of a church congregation, but I suppose it could be argued that even God streams to us His services, albeit living streams. But that's another conversation.
If a person could consider him or herself a soldier in the army of Heaven, or as a shepherd stationed to keep the sheep safe, then yes, under the present spiritual reality, that person is essential.
But you say, "If I were not here, the work would go on without me. I'm not essential to the Gospel progress." Perhaps, but for sure, without your input the work would go on differently. Your single presence among the many thousands aboard one of these enormous cruise liners might not seem to make much of an impact; but make no mistake, as you lean against the rail at the side of the ship, you actually cause just enough of a list that the helm must make a very slight -- even minute -- adjustment. Your presence and efforts, or lack thereof, make a difference.
There's coming a time when those kinds of efforts will not be needed, but that time is not yet. Right now you are a Necessary Element, an Important Contributor, a Key Factor in the spreading of light around you and beyond.
And we have not been left alone to wander through life guided by the lights from the sparks of our own making. We have a Companion who, though He be beside the Throne of God, He also be by our side, always, causing the wind to blow where it lists, unafraid of the waves the wind causes in this dark and dreary world. "What manner of Man is this ...?" they asked when the tempest ceased.
If you've ever watched parasailors at the beach or lakeside, you will have witnessed a beautiful object lesson in the use of air currents, or wind. The wind is blowing all around, yet only those parasailors with the right equipment are caught aloft. And once aloft, all the parasailor has to do is tilt the wings to guide him or herself through the air. Beach- and lake-goers all around are feeling the same breeze, but are unable to rise with it. We are invited to spread our spiritual wings, catch the breeze, flee the nest, and do great things for our Lord and Master.
YOU are a spreader of salt.
YOU are a light bearer
YOU are an alabaster box.
YOU are causing the ship to list.
YOU are an Essential Worker.
And that's just my take on it ....