Salt & Light.
In the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-7) Jesus gathers a crowd of Israelites together and begins to teach them truths about God, themselves, and the world around them. Many of these truths had already been communicated to them by God – but as seems typical for humanity – the Israelites had forgotten them. They needed to be reminded. One of the areas that Jesus comments on as he shares his thoughts with the multitudes is a direct challenge to them and us. He tells them that they are to be salt and light. Back then salt was a preservative. It was used to help kill bacteria that would occur in meat because there was no refrigeration/freezers. Salt was seen as something that would preserve the freshness of whatever it interacted with.
Light is obviously something we all need in order to see. We never realize just how important it is until the lights go out or we are caught in darkness. When that happens life can quickly become filled with doubts and fears (real or imagined). We also tend to forget just how desperate it can be living in darkness. Especially if we have lived with the inherent hope that having a relationship with God provides. We start to assume that everyone can see and feel just as we do. Jesus was concerned that the Israelites had forgotten that they had a special mission that had been given to them by God. The world was (and still is) in desperate straits. It needed a messiah, a savior, and the nation of Israel was going to both prepare the world for one and – through one of its own – provide that very messiah. Make no mistake, the plan was there from the beginning and the messiah was going to save the whole world, not just Israel. But Israel had lost sight of this. They had stopped being salt (influencing the world around them) and light (providing truth for people to see, and hope to drive fears away).
We face the same challenge today. As a church it is so easy to get so caught up within our own lives that we forget what it is that we are really supposed to be doing – being salt and light. Furthermore, Jesus warns us that when salt loses its saltiness (in our case our ability to influence or bring hope and truth) it really isn’t good for anything else. It can just be trampled on the ground as it has lost its value. The secret of being salty is remaining connected to God. As we interact with God, we are empowered to change lives. When we remain connected to God and seek to be people of influence (salt), that is when we most powerfully experience God. Throughout this endeavor (as we strive to stay connected to God and influence others) God transforms us in the process. What’s more, being salt & light is what we were created and designed to do. Testimonies from throughout Church history continue to tells us that we feel most alive when we are being salt and light to the world around us.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:5)”
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