salt on groundYou are the salt of the earth. But if the 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. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 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.” Matthew 5:13-15

Jesus likened His disciples to salt (vs.13). They were to the world what salt is in everyday life: it is a seasoning for food; it hinders the spread of corruption; it creates thirst; it brings out the flavor. So His followers add piquancy to human society, serve as a preservative, and make others long for the righteousness described in the preceding verses.

If salt loses its flavor, how can its saltiness be restored? There is no way to restore the true, natural taste. Once it has lost its flavor, salt is good for nothing.

The disciple has one great function—to be the salt of the earth by living out the principles of discipleship listed in the Beatitudes and throughout the rest of Christ’s message. If a believer fails to exhibit this spiritual reality, men will tread his testimony under their feet. The world has only contempt for an undedicated believer. Hypocrisy is a blight on our Christian culture.

Jesus also calls Christians the light of the world. He spoke of Himself as “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 12:35, 36, 46). Jesus is the source of light; Christians are the reflection of His light. Their function is to shine for Him just as the moon reflects the glory of the sun. We in turn are to reflect the Son in our lives.

The Holy Spirit manifested in our lives speaks louder than the persuasion of our words. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary”.”

I’m reminded of a story that really convicts me about the concept of being salt and light.

A careful driver is being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turns yellow, just in front of his car. He does the honest thing, and stops at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating woman hits the roof, and the horn, and screams at him in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she is still in mid-rant, she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer orders her to exit her car with her hands up. He takes her to the police station where she is searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door. She is escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer is waiting with her personal affects. He says, “I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off, and cussing a blue streak at the person in front of you. I noticed the “Choose Life” bumper sticker, chrome Ichthys fish emblem, and license plate holder that read “What Would Jesus Do?” on your vehicle. Naturally I assumed you had stolen the car.”

That is a convicting story!

Personal Application:

1. What does your bumper sticker say? Let’s try and live up to what we profess.
2. To be effective God intends the salt to be used out of the shaker. We are the shakers and the Holy Spirit abiding in us is the salt.
3. Light reflects off a clean, shiny surface best. Are our lives as clean and reflective as they could be?

Jim Grassi, D. Min.