“Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”  (Psalm 37:1-2, NIV)

Today’s scripture from the psalms reminds us of two important things: (1) To not fret because of the deeds of evil people; and (2) to not be envious of those who prosper in wrong-doing.

Sadly, there are some in our society who promote lawlessness.

Worse still, there are others who envy the fruit of lawlessness (e. g. wealth, fame, influence). For these individuals, the adage, “crime doesn’t pay,” is not supported by the evidence.

The scripture reminds us not to fret because of such people.  Yes, they are a source of senseless pain.  Yes, they do destroy and leave nothing in its place. Do not fret, we are told, because they will not ensure.

God has not forgotten the righteous.  In the meantime, in the words of John Wesley (1703-1791): “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”  – Luther

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“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”  (Matthew 5:13, NASB)

When Jesus made this statement in His “Sermon on the Mount,” salt was used as a food preservative, because refrigerators and freezers were unknown at that time.

The disciple of Jesus is a “preservative” in a decaying world. Where there is evil, we do the right thing. Where there is deception, we speak the truth. Where there is grief, we offer comfort. Where there is despair, we provide encouragement and hope.

Without us, the state of the world only gets worse.

If we become salt that has lost its saltiness, we are part of the problem.

The Irish political philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729-1797), said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

In our decaying, dying world, we are the “good men” (and “good women”). Do not be overcome by evil; overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)  – Luther

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“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

Jesus says that you and I are the light of the world. This is not aspirational, as in a state to which you and I should aspire.  It is a fact.

We may, through disobedience, dim our light’s brightness, but we have no say in where we are placed.  That is God’s prerogative.  He may place us in unusual and challenging places.  Places where, were it our choice, we would never go.

It should cheer us to know that God has entrusted the illumination of the world to us.  By our good deeds God is glorified.

Do good and shine wherever you are today.  God has not made us the light to hide us under a bowl.  He has made us light to illuminate the world.  – Luther

REMINDER: Daily Encouragement will be on break tomorrow (Sunday).  Have a great day in worship.  Lord willing, see you again on Monday!

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