I grew up in a society that despised change. They would rather remain glued to the status quo than embrace anything different from what they are familiar with. I was indoctrinated into that way of life, and lived my life “following” the popular. But I got to a point in my life when I began to ask myself some sincere questions. Deep within me, I knew something was missing. The more I tried to ignore it, the more obvious it became. Then I pressed on to find answers, and I discovered that, the problem was, I was not functioning according to my divine configuration–God “called” me to be a leader but I was busy following the status quo.
That marked the turning point in my life. But that was not the end; it only marked the beginning of the second phase. I looked around and saw that believers all around me are also trapped in that ignorance. The majority are moving in the direction of the “popular”; functioning against the original purpose of the creator. We have failed to search the “book”, and as a result, we have lost our “look”. We are “called” to be leaders not followers. Jesus says to us….”You are the salt of the earth “Matt. 5:13, and He also says…”You are the light of the world “Matt. 5:14. I think we underestimate the weight of these words of Jesus; He isn’t just trying to make us feel good, He is relating our divine configuration to us. He doesn’t say. “I will make you the salt and light of the world”, He says, that’s what you are!
Every believer is empowered to function as salt and light. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear about salt and light is influence, and according to leadership expert, John Maxwell, that is the whole essence of leadership. In his book, the 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership, he says, leadership is influence-nothing more, nothing else. Do you now see that God has called you to be a leader? Yes, He has. Jesus could have used any other metaphor to describe who we really are, but there is arguably nothing else that commands influence like salt and light. When it comes to food ingredients, salt is the leader; it is the major force to be reckoned with. If you despise it, your food loses taste and value! When it comes to illumination, light is the leader. If you dare to displace it, darkness takes over uninvited. Would you just pause for few minutes and think on this? You are not the “curry” or the “thyme”, you are the salt. You are not just an addition; you are the “direction”!
We must understand that, Christian leadership is not about pastoring or being in ministry per say, it is the very core of our calling as believers. I was discussing with a colleague few days ago and I said, “If a nation or a community is “suffering”, don’t query their leaders, query the believers in that place”. Why would I say that? Salt is the fundamental requirement in sweetening any food; when it is not there, no matter the quantity of other ingredients you add to the food, the food still remains tasteless. Would you blame the other ingredients for the tastelessness of the food? Of course not. They certainly tried their best, but they could not substitute the salt. If the food is without taste, it is the fault of the salt? It is either it was not added at all, or the quantity added was small, or it has lost its savour! No matter how hard they try, human leadership will never be able to substitute Christian leadership; they will never be able to sweeten the world! Until believers-the called salts, live up to their responsibility, societal and national failure will remain.
Brethren, we are called to lead the affairs of this world. The Apostle Paul says God, in Christ has placed us…”far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” Eph. 1: 21. The leadership of this world is ordained to be under our control. We are meant to be the “direction” that the world must follow. But, we should ask ourselves, are we fulfilling this divine purpose? Have we not cowered into the shells of our churches, leaving the world to be led by those who cannot lead it? In my nation, it is commonly said that politics is a dirty game. But my question is, what are we going to do about the dirt? Do we leave it to get dirtier, or move to clean it? We think, we are just being “Christian” by shrinking into our shells, but in actual truth, we are fighting divine purpose! Salts move from where they are to where they should be because they are not manufactured to occupy space, they are to set the pace–they are to influence!
Sure, they enjoy enough comfort sitting down in their packs doing nothing, but their sense of purpose would not let them. They would rather dive into the “fire” than sit down and lose relevance. They would rather give up their comfort for result; they would rather get right in there and make a difference than sit out there and be indifferent. Friend, God has not told you to “watch and pray” for the darkness, He has mandated you to lighten it! Why else would God ensure that His children gain admission into the university? He wants them to sweeten the campus, and light out every darkness. Did I just blow your mind? What did you have in mind? That it is just for you to earn a first class degree? I am sorry to disappoint you dear, but God’s thought has gone far ahead of yours’. You are not there just to earn a degree; you are there to establish the decree of light. Now, Jesus says, you and I are the salt and light of this world. What are the implications of this statement? It implies that:
#1. We are on this planet to influence: Jesus didn’t say, “You are the salt of the church”, He says. “You are the salt of the earth”. The church is our “brooding” ground, but the world is our “breeding” ground. We are not to influence just our churches; we are to influence the world-the economy, polity, health, and so on. Salts don’t sit down in the factory hoping to influence, they move right into people’s homes, into their kitchens, and into their pots–because that is where they are needed!
#2. We are here to provide direction: The world is supposed to move after us not vice-versa. We are the ones to call the shots, while they follow us. We are to take a vehement and aggressive stand against every anti-kingdom way of life, that’s what Jesus came to earth to do. He came to provide direction and the world is flocking after that path till tomorrow. And He says concerning us…”as the Father has sent Me, I also send you “John 20:21. The Apostle John also said…..”…as He is, so are we in this world”1John 4:17. It now behoves us to live up to that calling.
#3. We are here to illuminate: The Prophet Isaiah, speaking prophetically said…”….for behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and the deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you…..the gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising “Isaiah 60: 2&3. These are days when darkness seems to be prevailing-there is disorder, failure, frustrations, and spread of evil everywhere. But, it is for such a time as this, that God has raised us and mandated us to lighten the world. Darkness prevails only when light is veiled. The arrival of light always signals the doom of darkness. Would you be that light that God is counting on to illuminate your home, school, society, nation, and the world?
As I attempt to round up this piece, I like to point out two important truths. One, it is the colossal agreement of salt that guarantees unequivocal impact. Just one pinch of salt cannot sweeten; hence we all must determine that, wherever we are, we will make a difference-sweetening and lightening our world with the Word. And lastly, there would be no salt and light if there is no manufacturer. It is always the God-factor that makes for undeniable impact. It is not hard work that makes a thing work; it is its connection to a power source. If you disconnect yourself from God, you will start to diminish and eventually lose relevance.
So you see dear friends, God has already called you to lead. Effective Christian Leadership is the only way to effecting a working system in our worlds. We are the salts and the lights of the world-called to influence; to make a difference; and to lead!
Our guest blogger Popoola Oluwatobi bears the mandate, by divine privilege and grace, to empower people for undeniable impact. He is an author, speaker, and self-development coach. He speaks in youth gatherings-in schools, churches, and organized events-spreading the good news, that the world would become better if people are re-positioned to make impact. Follow him on Twitter @makeimpact; or connect with him on Facebook.