My wife complains about my cooking. I think I do okay. In fact, I like trying it. So, why does she complain? Because too often I don’t use salt. “Make it live, for goodness’ sake!” is what she’s saying.
Our basement gets eerily dark at night, and we have two kids sleeping down there. So, we have a couple of small night lights plugged in. It’s amazing how those tiny bulbs make a big difference.
You are the salt of the earth, but if the 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 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 in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
Jesus builds on the blessed life of the disciples who are ambassadors of God’s Kingdom with the effect of the enviable life: salt and light. The God-centered, Christ-formed, Spirit-led blessed life is salt and light. Disciples become salt, adding a heavenly flavor and light, refusing to be hidden, and bring glory to God.
Brining Light And Life To The World
Two salty Old Testament references are worth noting.
First, the woman who became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). Lot and his wife were part of Abraham’s clan and meant to be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:1-3). But life in Sodom and Gomorrah swept them away. They were mercifully given an opportunity to escape the destruction coming on a city ruined by wickedness (which Ezekiel 16:49-50 describes as not only sexual immorality, but pride, selfishness and mercilessness; the opposite of the life described by the beatitudes). But Lot’s wife looked back. Her life meant to be a blessing to the nations was turned into a useless pillar of salt.
Secondly, Israel’s grain offerings to God were always to be salted (Leviticus 2:13). God deserved what was flavorful, costly and pure. Yahweh was to be honored with the best, and that best was to be made even better with salt. Jesus says his disciples are salt. We are the additive bringing God honor. Followers of Christ are not useless salt but bring God glory in the stuff of the world and make the stuff of the world come alive.
And, says Jesus, we are light. The LORD led his people out of slavery in Egypt by a pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21). Psalm 44:3 sings that the Promised Land was granted to Israel by the light of God’s presence. Isaiah declares that through his servant, the Lord will reveal his justice and ways as a light to the nations (Isaiah 51:4).
So, when Jesus says he is the light of the world (John 8:12), he reveals himself as the fulfilment of the light of God’s liberating presence and justice. And, stunningly, he says we his disciples are the light of the world too! We are the illumination of his very own light.
Slow Down And Consider
Can you see places where the flavor of God needs to be added? Have you become useless in those places because your attention is elsewhere? Can you see where some light of heaven needs to shine? Does your presence illuminate? Is your presence a ray of God’s living hope?
Being salt and light is not about working harder; it is the effect of the blessed life. And, the blessed life is the direct result of being with Jesus. Those who come to him and by the power of the Spirit embody the character of God are salt of the earth and light of the world.
So, your usefulness and illumination will come from him and remaining with and in him. What’s your plan for that today?