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Salt and Light

Salt and light are metaphors used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, one of the main teachings of Jesus on morality and discipleship. These metaphors in Matthew 5:13-16 immediately follow the Beatitudes and relate to Jesus teaching his disciples. 

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

~ Matthew 5:13-16 (The Message)

I’ve been thinking about what this means for me.  When I unpack these verses there are four key themes that come out.  I can clearly see my shortcomings.  I’ve written these points mainly to challenge myself.  Maybe there’s something in this for you too.

1. You are the salt of the earth.

Jesus emphasises to us that we have both the calling and the responsibility to be influencers in the world.  

2. Salt which loses its saltiness is useless. 

Jesus’ teaching is challenging.  There is little wriggle room for those who are Christians, but who have lost their saltiness, or their “edge”.  Without the testimony of lives lived out with integrity and consistency with the principles that Christians claim to follow, the testimony of our lips is next to useless. 

 3. You are like light for the world 

Light shines on dark things and exposes what is there. This is a call to the church to challenge evil within our society, however uncomfortable this may be. The light that we bring, is not our own light – it is not who we are in ourselves, but rather the light of God shining through us. This doesn’t mean that we have to refer to God in every other sentence, but when the opportunity arises, we can share with another person the light that God has given us. Challenging?

 4. Don’t hide your light

We hide our light when we stay silent in the face of discussion which is contrary to that which we believe. We hide our light when we fail to accept and conform with behaviours that are not in line with Jesus’ teaching. We hide our light when we don’t care for the needs of others, and walk by on by.

Jesus challenges us all to be salt and light – to influence the world, and to be seen to be doing so.  I’m still learning how to do this. What about you?

Salt and light

Yesterday, you were my God
I saw you, in the eyes of a stranger
I heard you, in their indignation
And I felt you, in their sorrow
And I did nothing

Today, you are my God
I saw you, growing my garden
I heard you rustling through the trees
And I felt your warmth, on my face
And I smiled

Tomorrow, you’ll still be my God
I will see you, if I dare to look
I will hear you, if I am still
And I will feel you, working within my heart
For you are the same God
Yesterday, today, and forever

Help me to be salt,
to those who need to taste
And light,
to those who are lost in their own darkness
And compel me to act,
today.

 

 

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