Dreams and Ambitions

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? People do not light a lamp and put it under the bushel basket; rather, they put it on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Matthew 5: 13 & 15 

Dear members and friends, 

In the message of “salt and light,” Jesus emphasizes each element in a slightly different way. Regarding the salt, Jesus’ emphasis is on preserving its own quality of being salt, while regarding the light, Jesus’ emphasis is on illuminating the world, which is being useful. What Jesus is teaching us with “salt and light” is the importance of maintaining the proper balance between integrity and efficiency. In the beginning, most of us start a project, work, or task with the intention of making a good change in the world. However, over the course of time we start to pay more attention to productivity and efficiency rather than making or doing something good. We may even reach a point where we are willing to compromise our original intention of making the world a better place for the sake of better production or profit.  

This reminds me of a Confucian teaching about the importance of keeping “the first will” or “the dream of the blue cloud” in its literal translation. This refers to the practice of scholars leaving their hometowns to pursue a career in government with a dream of making the world a better place for common people. After they begin their career, they encounter a variety of people, tasks, and events and slowly but surely lose sight of their original ambition. They all become obsessed with power, wealth, or fame. Why is this? Simply put, because everyone else was also chasing after these things. At this point, it is said that they have forgotten their “dream of the blue cloud.”

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment of time this week and reflect on our life and our dreams. Perhaps we could meditate on this question for a few minutes:  “What did I want to achieve in the very beginning?”    

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee