1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. — Leviticus 24:1 NLT
Consider the olive. The tree grows in stony soil where other trees cannot grow. A new tree is started with a seed or a cutting and then transplanted. It grows for seven years before it has any berries on it and it is about fourteen years before the crop reaches maturity. In Old Testament times, the fruit was harvested by shaking and beating the tree with a reed or a stick. This injures the tree so much that it will only produce fruit every other year. Once it starts to produce fruit, it will continue to produce fruit for centuries. After the fruit is harvested, it is pressed to get the oil from it. This oil was then used to keep the light in the Tabernacle lamps burning continually. Jesus said that we are now the light of the world. For us to be the pure light that we should be, we must go through much of the same process as the olive. God transplants us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light and we start on a journey. It will take some time for us to mature and produce fruit. We need to be shaken at times to get us out of our comfort zones. We need to be disciplined at times to get us back on the straight and narrow path. We have sinful, fleshly desires and those desires are not going to go away without a fight. So, God allows us to be pressed down until there is nothing left but a heart with pure motives. Then and only then are we able to be the light to the world and deliver it from the darkness of sin.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.– 2 Cor. 4:8-10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. — Matthew 5:16 NLT
Salt and light, two things that, in today’s world, we give little thought to. But in the first century, these things were not taken lightly. In fact, salt was such a precious commodity that it was considered proper to give salt as a gift to royalty. Having light after the sun went down was not just a matter of flipping a switch or setting a timer on your cell phone (for you techies). It required a lot of work to keep the palace garden lights burning. And it was very costly since oil and tar were also precious commodities. But it was even more costly to the Christians that Nero had dipped in tar and set on fire to use as lights in his garden. So, when Jesus used these items as comparisons to what Christians must be to a lost world, the people in that time could really appreciate it much more than we can today. With no refrigeration, salt was their major preservative. God’s mercy and grace are our only preservatives against evil destroying our flesh. Think of how much less time in each day that we could be productive without artificial light. But we have a light inside of us that lights up the world even on the brightest day. Are we sharing our salt and light with those around us? Why not? The supply is endless, it is always available and monetarily, it costs us nothing. We need to take the top off the salt shaker and the shade off the lamp and share our abundance with others even if it takes us to Nero’s garden.
1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. 5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you?–2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 (NLT
God is waiting to show you the way.
The return of Jesus has probably been and still is the most debated subject in the history of Christendom. We cannot know for certain when that event will occur. Even Jesus told us that we would not know for sure, not even Jesus knew:
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.–Matt. 24:36 (NLT)
We can only know for sure that it hasn’t happened yet. In the above passage, Paul tells us of some events that must occur before the return of Jesus. Some have already occurred, but there are more to come. We have no need to chase after rumors of His return. When He returns in the eastern sky, everyone will know about it. Our concern is to stay ready at all times and spend our time telling others about Jesus and His love. Jesus will return at the very day, hour, minute and second that the Father has already chosen. We are to keep our lamps burning and filled with oil, so that we will be ready when He returns whether that be now or thousands of years from now.