If God had chosen to, He could have taken us home to Heaven immediately following our conversion. But He didn’t, so obviously He has a purpose for our still being here. He wants us to remain here on earth to be His ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20), and also to be an influence for holiness in the midst of a morally polluted, spiritually dysfunctional society. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world…Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:13-16). Jesus used the metaphors of “salt” and “light” to describe the preserving and enlightening effects we should have in our world.
This same truth can be illustrated with a different analogy, one taken from the honeybee. On a warm, midsummer evening, if you go near their hives, you will notice a continuous buzzing or hissing sound that flows from the hive in a wave-like rhythm. It is coming from “fanner bees.” They keep the hive cool and keep the air fresh and sweet. If you could see them, you’d notice that they stay near the center of the colony and that their wings are moving so rapidly that they appear almost like a gray mist. They’re forcing the stale air out while the pure air is being drawn in. You can actually feel the gentle breeze produced by those numerous tiny bee wings. Those fanners—pushing out bad air and bringing in fresh air—that’s the way Christians ought to perform!
In our area of influence—our home, the workplace, in school, in our neighborhood, in our recreation—we can be a light in the darkness and have a preserving effect like salt. Or, in terms of our honeybee illustration, we can “freshen the air” where we live and work and play. Either we are helping to stay the spiritual and moral decay of our society or we are becoming part of it. Either we are helping to dispel the darkness or we are adding to it. If your life doesn’t shed light, it casts a shadow! Either we are a positive influence on the little world we live in or we are being influenced negatively. In The Living Bible Rom. 12:2 reads: “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold!” Be an “air freshener” wherever you go.
“Only one life, so live it well,
And keep your candle trimmed and bright;
Eternity, not time, will tell
The radius of that candle’s light” …Miller (from The Daily Bread)