Matthew 5:13-16 - (Jesus said) "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
If you've ever been on a salt-free diet, you know how the absence of salt affects the taste of food. Without salt many foods that are ordinarily pleasing to the palate become bland and tasteless.
Salt was considered such an important commodity in "Merrie Olde England" that the position of "keeper of the salt" at royal banquets held high prestige. And in the ancient world, salt was used as a medium of exchange. Salt was, quite literally, money.
Salt not only adds flavor to bland foods, it preserves foods that otherwise would go bad very quickly. But once salt has lost its "saltiness"—its flavor and preservative power—instead of being of great value, it is discarded.
"You are the salt of the earth," Jesus said. What does a Christian do as the salt of the earth? How do we add Gospel-seasoned words of hospitality to our conversations? How can we more effectively "spice up" our speech with others at work, at home, and in the places we hang out?
And then Jesus speaks of light. Without it, darkness rules, and we struggle to do the simplest of things. Light at night was a welcome sight in the ancient world. Light was provided by the flicker of oil lamps or larger fires. Their illumination dispelled the darkness and allowed living to continue, even after nightfall.
You are the light of the world," Jesus said to His disciples. Then He adds a somewhat telling sentence: "A city set on a hill cannot be hid." In a word, Christians are to shine, to be illumination for others. In the darkness of an increasingly secular world, their faith should be visible to everyone.
So, how can we live our lives as lights for others to see? What distinct opportunities do we have through our relationships to be "the light of the world"? How can we shine brightly, blessing others with lives of salt?
The next time you reflect on the great salvation we have through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, think about how that news can be "salt" to someone's life, "light" to their world of darkness.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, remind us that we are the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world," always pointing to our Savior Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, February 1978 issue, "A Life of Salt and Light," by Ron Schlegel
1. What is it about someone's character that often stays in your mind long after they've gone?
2. What are some concrete ways Christians are to be the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world"?
3. Can you recall instances in your recent life where you could have been saltier, brighter in the way you related to others?
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