By Russ Ramsey
I have a friend who helps me. He knows me. He is sensitive to my emotional rhythm. When he senses I am struggling, he asks me about it, and I do the same with him. This way of caring for each other isn’t work. It is the natural result of our friendship. We are not friends in name only. We are friends, and therefore we make that friendship known by reaching out to one another. Our relationship makes us respond to each other.
The Beatitudes offer comfort amidst the difficulties we face. They speak into our struggles and promise hope. But when we read the verses that follow the Beatitudes, we see that we are not meant to simply know this information. We are meant to proclaim it. What the Beatitudes tell us should draw from us a response.
Jesus follows the Beatitudes by telling us we are the salt of the earth, lamps on stands, cities up on hills. We are to let our light shine so that people will see us and praise God because of what they see in us. In other words, the comfort and confidence the Beatitudes promise should draw from us a response of gratitude to God that serves as our witness to the world.
This is how gratitude works, right? Real gratitude, anyway. We don’t just think about the things we’re most thankful for. We talk about them. We tell people. We share stories of how blessings seemed to come out of nowhere, and just in time, too. It’s almost impossible not to talk about the things we love the most.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any theological truth that is simply meant to be heard and filed away under “general information.” God calls us to live not only as recipients of His kindness, but to proclaim His mercy and grace to others.
In fact, Jesus says it just doesn’t make any sense not to. It would be like putting your lamp under a basket so that the light doesn’t get out. Or hiding the salt during a meal so that there is nothing to draw out flavor and complexity—to make known to the senses what is there.
In Christ’s kingdom, the meek inherit the earth. The mourners are comforted. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will not be disappointed. The merciful are shown mercy. The peacemakers and the persecuted will see God and find peace. The Beatitudes are not mere bits of information. They present a message, and we, if we understand them, are meant to be messengers. Light in a dark world. Salt for bland imaginations. We are meant to respond. It would be strange not to.
May the world see the light of the gospel shine through us as we live according to the hope Jesus gives us in the Beatitudes.
Written By Russ Ramsey