In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As Christians, we are called to be salt and light in the world. In fact, in the Greek, the emphasis is, “You—and only you—are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city set on a hill.”
We live in a fallen world. The world is decaying and rotting away…without the salt to preserve it. The world is cruel, jaded and bland…without the zest that salt can add to it. The world has little truth…without the light of truth. All things considered, Jesus is not very positive, upbeat or optimistic about the world.
And what does Jesus do? He points to us as the remedy for our fallen world and then tells us how.
We are to provide responsibility.
Just as salt is a preservative, we are to glue the society together for the things that count. Irresponsibility eats away at our society. Christians are called to be responsible. We will be there after everyone else has left, binding up broken hearts, healing the sick, serving in the city, helping the oppressed, and in our lives and on the mission field proclaiming the truth of grace and freedom. And instead of giving out of guilt, we really care.
We are to provide zest.
According to Jesus, a bland, insipid Christian is a contradiction in terms. As God’s people, we are the only ones who can freely laugh and robustly live. We shouldn’t fit the stereotype of a Christian. Jesus didn’t die to make us nice. Quite the opposite. We are to be the most salty and earthy people in the world.
Let me illustrate who we are. Imagine two spaceships and everyone is divided up between them as passengers. The first spaceship is headed for the most magnificent journey through the galaxies in its entire splendor. The people on that spaceship will be able to see things no one has ever seen. There is a catch though. We cannot bring this spaceship back to earth. One trip through the stars and that’s it.
We shouldn't fit the stereotype of a Christian.
The second spaceship is headed for a hard journey. The trip will be tough, uncomfortable and often scary. At the end of the journey, though, this spaceship will reach a beautiful planet. The people will love their new home and start a life there as a new and perfect race.
As you imagine those two spaceships, on which one will they sing songs? Laugh? Create art? Love one another? Make an impact? The people on the first spaceship will be too busy cramming for finals to do any of this. They will turn inward, and end up miserable. Christ wants us to be like the people on that second spaceship—full of salty zest. And you won’t believe the destination.
We are to provide truth.
The Father has given us truth…a rare commodity in this world. Life is all about Jesus Christ. When you look at the Sermon on the Mount, a number of times Jesus says, “You have heard it was said, but I say to you…” That is what we’re supposed to do too. We’re supposed to go into the world and say... You’ve heard it said life is meaningless, but I say to you that life has great meaning, purpose and direction in Christ. You’re heard it said when you’re dead that’s all there is, but I say to you that you can live forever. You’ve heard it said you have to just learn how to deal with your guilt, but I say to you that you can be forgiven.
While we don’t have all the truth, all we do have is true. Christ has given us a commission to go into all the world, spreading that truth. We have the cure to share.
We are to be salt and light.
A friend said this about light: “Jesus said that you will shine. You will shine with the radiance of the light he has given or he will make the world so dark that even your little light will shine.” The same goes with salt too. Just a little salt, just a pinch, and a meal is deliciously transformed.
The world desperately needs our salt and light. By God’s grace, if I shine my little light and spread around my little pinch of salt, it will make a life-changing difference. All we’re called to do is to be faithful with the little we have. So shine your light and sprinkle your salt. The Father will do what he always does…multiply it.
Time to Draw Away
Read Mark 6:30-44 & Acts 1:8
Do you ever feel too small and insignificant to make a difference? Even in (especially in) our sin and struggle, God calls us and uses us. And we don’t do it alone. God’s grace is bigger than we know; it’s bigger than we can know. It is through that grace and the power of the Holy Spirit we live, love…and act.