“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13–14
When I was about six years old our family was taking part in a church work bee one Sunday. Everyone, even the children had begun the day with some task they could help with but very soon the children had dispensed with working and had gone to playing. My playing eventually took me into the church kitchen where I discover a bag of sugar. I knew I liked sugar, it was sweet and sweet was good and I wanted some of that sugar. So I took a handful of that sugar and stuffed it into my mouth only to discover that I’d made a mistake. It wasn’t sugar, it was salt. In that instant I learned a few very important lessons and one is that salt is best experienced in small amounts not handfuls.
In Matthew chapter five Jesus is recorded telling the people that they are the salt of the earth and in the next sentence he makes a similar point using a different metaphor when he says that they are the light of the world.
Notice that Jesus didn’t say that they were merely salt and light. No, they were the salt of the earth and they were the light of the world. The message here is that those possessing the experience of the saving grace of God in their lives now have the responsibility of sharing that experience with the world. Those whose lives are everyday being touched and molded by the life and power of Jesus are to expose the world to that influence they experience in their lives.
Regarding salt that has no savor to share Jesus says that it’s good for nothing except to be cast aside and trod underfoot. Unshared light doesn’t get the same condemnation but Jesus does say that no one would ever light a lamp and then hide its light. Oh no, lamps are placed on pedestals where they can share their light with everyone in the house.
Both light and salt are essential for life and health. Sodium is necessary for proper body function and too little salt has been linked to heart attack and death. Light is also vital for health and not just for the production of vitamin D. Experiencing bright light for about an hour early in the day triggers hormone cycles necessary for both wakefulness during the day and sound sleep at night. Our physical and mental health are dependent on our experiencing bright light.
The world needs an experience with Jesus. For most people that experience begins with the relationships they have with people that already have a connection with him. We must not hide the relationship we have with Jesus. Never be embarrassed or ashamed by the connection you have with God. At the same time never be arrogant or overpowering with your witness either. Like Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon it ought to be known that the power in your life and your success and faithfulness are a product of the relationship you have with God. The lives of many, even kings and princes, were touched by these men. You can touch other lives for God as well.
That’s what it means to be salt and light in this world. Our lives must make a difference to those that know us and even those that just meet us.