Every day we use salt and light. Without these two things, we certainly would have a hard time surviving this world. Salt adds flavor to some of the foods we enjoy. Light is necessary to be able to see in a dark room or outside walking in the dark. Sunlight provides the energy needed to sustain life on earth and gives us critical vitamin D. In the days when Jesus walked this earth, salt was used as a preservative to keep foods fresh as they had no refrigeration that we enjoy today. Light back then was provided by oil lamps as there was no such thing as electricity. But why is Jesus asking those then and us now to be salt and light to the world in the scripture lesson from this past Sunday in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16)? How can we be these things you may ask? Well, when Jesus uses these words in his Sermon on the Mount, he is telling his listeners in metaphors then and us today to understand how we are to interact with the world with salt and light.
As believers in Christ, we are to be preservatives to the world. God’s people are His preserving agents for a world that is corrupted and degenerating because of sin. Salt was also a picture of something good, a flavoring. Followers of Christ stand as those who “enhance” the flavor of life in the world. But Jesus says if you lose your saltiness, you are basically good for nothing. You lose your usefulness. What he is saying is that if we are not in a right relationship with him, we are like salt that has lost its saltiness and is therefore useless. If you lose your saltiness, how will people be able to taste godliness? Then none of God’s saving grace and power can be dispensed through us to others.
How do we test the “saltiness” of our life? Look at our family. Are we preserving it from the destructive influences that surround it? Examine our workplace. Are the sinful influences in our work environment being halted because we are there? Observe our community. Is it a better place because we are involved in it? What about our church? The evidence that we have been used by God as a preserving agent is that things are becoming spiritually better around us instead of worse. If people around us are deteriorating spiritually, we need to go to our Lord and allow Him to adjust our lives so we can be used to preserve others.
Next, we read Jesus saying that we are light. The light of the world. Light is illuminating. Light shines in the darkness. Light provides growth. If you notice the world around you becoming darker and darker, don’t blame the darkness! It is simply doing what darkness does. The only remedy for darkness is light. If the world is becoming darker the problem is not with the darkness. The problem is with the light. Jesus is saying that his disciples should be “light of the world.” His disciples are to act in public so as to draw attention, not to themselves, but to the source of light within them. It is point to the glory of God. The world was never the same once the Father introduced His light through His son. Can that be said of us as well? Do our coworkers recognize the light than is within us? Does the presence of Christ radiate from your home into your community? When God’s light is allowed to shine unhindered through your life, the darkness around you will be dispelled.
The world today needs us to shine our light and taste our saltiness more than ever. How can we change our world to reflect what Jesus is saying it should look like? By us being salt and light to one person at a time. Now, we may say, wow, that is going to take a while. But with God, all things are possible. We are called to be salt and light to a suffering world in need of hope and love. God will do the rest. But without us living up to this calling, we are worthless to this world and become like it, thereby changing no one. So, lets add God’s flavoring and light to this world. The flavoring is to preserve what God has created, his children. The light as a beacon of hope for those same children that are lost in a dark world. Are we as Christians being salt and light in today’s world?
Blessings, Rev. Tim Pearce