“You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.”
Matthew 5:13a, 14a
Having been retired for several years now, I must admit that I haven’t been giving much thought to job descriptions. However, thinking about what God expects of me has prompted me to once again think about what I am here to do. Among other things, the purpose of a Job Description is to list the essential activities or main features involved in the performance of a specific role, and to identify to whom the person in that role is accountable.
As members of God’s ‘team’ on earth, we have been provided with a clear and simple Job Description. We are to be Salt and Light.
Matthew 5: 13-16 clearly presents what Jesus said our responsibilities are:
“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 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.”
Salt enhances flavor, stimulates thirst, heals wounds, protects against slipping, preserves to prevent deterioration.
Salt works without our being able to see it happening, but we experience the result.
Salt works through influence … it requires contact with something in order to have any impact. We can taste salt, but we can’t see it flavouring our food or healing our sore throat.
Light dispels darkness, exposes darkness by providing a contrast, protects against potential danger (e.g., a lighthouse for sailors), guides us (e.g., airport runway lights for pilots).
Light works through a visible display, and works only when it is connected to its source of power and it is turned ON.
Light doesn’t shine to be seen for itself; it shines so that people will see other things as a result of the presence of the light.
Jesus said that as His followers or His ‘team members on earth’, we ARE the salt of the earth and we ARE the light of the world.
He didn’t say that we will be, should be, or can be if we want to be.
He said that we ARE.
As salt, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit we are to strive to enrich the lives of those with whom we come in contact, to help to protect others from slipping, to do our best to inhibit sin’s power to destroy lives, to help to heal hurt and brokenness, and to stimulate thirst for the Living Water … JESUS.
As light, it is His desire that we live in such a way that our lives are an ongoing witness which is visible to the human eye … to the reality of Christ’s presence in our lives. To see is to believe. We are to be reflectors of the Light of the World … JESUS. It is His desire that we live our lives following the wonderful example that He set for us during His time here on earth.
Salt and light have one thing in common: neither is appreciated in and of itself.
For example, we would not enjoy eating a bowl of salt.
Turning on a light in a bright, sunny room would not serve any useful purpose.
Salt and light become effective only when they are used according to their intended purpose.
In being salt and light, we have to be involved with those in the world but not be of the world (John 17:15-16). We are to influence and enrich lives, and to be a reflection of Jesus Christ through our attitudes, approaches, and actions … all of which are to glorify our Heavenly Father.
God’s desire and purpose for each of us is summarized nicely in the Message translation of Matthew 5:13-16 :
“ …. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth …
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world …
God is not a secret to be kept.”
Life is not a dress rehearsal.
It is the gift and opportunity that God has given to us to live each day for Him in such a way that others really will know that we are Christians by our love … and thereby experience HIS love.
In being salt and light, may we know the joy of serving our risen Saviour.
This is one of a series of devotionals posted by Haliburton United Church and Haliburton Pastoral Charge. Our thanks to Nancy Cornish for this devotion.
If you would like to submit a devotion for consideration, please email us.