“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“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: 13-16
In the next phase of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the folks that they are the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. He uses two everyday objects that people are very familiar with to tell them a little bit about what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus.
Jesus uses salt first as a descriptor for his audience. Salt had a variety of uses in Jesus’s day. It could be used to add flavor, as a preservative, a unit of exchange, for use in ceremonial rituals, and as a cleaning agent. Salt was highly valued and was a tool by which people’s lives were made better. There have been a variety of different interpretations regarding what Jesus meant here, but for now, I’d like to focus on the idea that salt made people’s lives better. When we read the Bible, it is pretty clear that we are to look for ways to improve peoples lives. We are to seek the prosperity of those around us. We are to care for the poor, to pray, to love and bless our enemies, and help point them to Jesus whenever we can. Jesus warns that when we lose sight of that purpose, we lose sight of what we are called to do in following after him. If salt loses its purpose it becomes useless. Jesus is warning his audience (and us) not to lose sight of the purpose we have as citizens in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus then goes onto use light as a means to communicate a similar point. The world is full of dark places and we are charged to go to those dark places as a light. We bring light with us wherever we go. We do so because we take Jesus with us everywhere we go. If we hide that light away, then we have lost sight of who we are and what we are supposed to be doing. Instead of hiding the light, we are to let it shine forth for all to see so that God would be glorified. The light is not meant to reveal anything special about us. It is meant to reveal the glory and faithfulness of God.
We are salt and light. We are meant to do good works for others to bring Glory to God. Christians are to be useful, to be peacemakers, to be ambassadors of the faith, to seek the common good, and to seek justice. Jesus warns us not to lose sight of who we are and what we are supposed to be doing. We are given a great privilege in partnering with God to do the work set before us. Let continue to be salt and light in a world that is in desperate need of Jesus.
Questions for reflection:
- Are you actively pursuing opportunities to be salt and light in your life?
- Whose life could you make better today by showing up in some way?
- Have you lost sight of your purpose as a follower of Jesus?
- What good deeds are you doing to bring Glory to God?