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Jesus taught in many different ways, knowing full well people had many learning styles.  That fact hasn’t changed in over 2000 years! For me, the Lord’s teaching through parables has always been easiest for me to understand.  I find the connection between the characters in the stories and the truth Jesus was teaching easy to find.  Conversely, His teaching through the use of metaphor hasn’t been as clear to me.  Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing, as it make me slow down to consider what was said.  It is this pondering process that leads my entry into the blog-o-sphere today.

The bible records Jesus speaking in Matthew 5:13-16 this way:

“You are the salt of the earth.  But if 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 by men. 14 You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

Salt and light? How can I be salt or light?  Even realizing this is a question put in the form of a metaphor, I’m still not sure what it means.  Allow me to share with you what my pondering has revealed thus far.

To be salt as Jesus has commanded, I continue the metaphor in that I must be ‘seasoning’ to the world around me.  Much as salt brings out or enhances the flavor of some foods (like corn on the cob!), so should I strive to have that kind of influence in my world.  Health questions aside, I must be a salted potato chip, something with some zest, as opposed to a bland unsalted one if my life of faith is to look appealing to someone else.

Salt in the days when Jesus walked the earth was a primary preservative of meat.  Yet to be of any value, it had to be rubbed in to be of any use.  Salt left lying next to a slab of fresh meat doesn’t help at all.  This applies to our life of faith as well: If I stay secluded in my office, I am not adding any spice to my community as a whole.

Jesus then goes on to say that His followers are also the light of the world.  Light is such an important theme throughout the Scriptures.  God’s light removes darkness as it  reveals His loving and compassionate heart.  Those living in darkness can’t see this.

Jesus would later tell everyone that He was the light of the world and that whoever followed Him would never walk in darkness. (John 8:12) He is the light, no question.  Yet you and I can and do walk in darkness, physically.  But Jesus is talking about our spiritual, not our physical walk.  Following His great light illuminates everything.  Rather that worry about what this might expose, how about considering what this light can reveal to/for us? Has anyone ever said to you, “I don’t want to give up this or that” to become a Christian.

I can remember thinking that way, especially when it came to smoking cigarettes.  Was I going to have to give them up now that I knew Jesus had saved me? No, I didn’t have to quit them or any other vice I might have been enjoying.  Rather I came to understand that following Jesus is all about addition, not subtraction.  Becoming His follower gave me peace like I’d never known.  It gave (and gives) me assurance the world can’t come close to giving.  These minuses just don’t register when compared to the pluses (and BTW, I’m going on 23 years without a smoke!).

In the verses at the top, Jesus says we are the light of the world and not to hide this fact.  Alright, but how do I do this? Simply put, by living out this faith we claim for all to see.  Scripture is once again filled with examples of how we can accomplish this.  We can see to the need of orphans and widows (James 1:27) or by tending to the needs of the hungry, giving clothes to those in need and remembering to help out our own family as well (Isaiah 58:7).

Joyce Meyer has summed this salt and light question up in a way that helped me: The Bible says that Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. On the job, in the grocery store, even among unsaved friends and family members, God’s people are there to bring seasoning to an unsavory situation.

If being salt and light has been a question in your heart and mind, I pray these musings have helped to clarify it some.

My sincerest thanks for reading,

Pastor Chuck


3 thoughts on “Salt and Light?

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