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Gospel of Matthew 5: 13-16 (NIV)
(Jesus taught his disciples:) 13 “You 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 underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
How “salty” a Christian are you? Salt added to bland food enhances flavour. It makes the unpalatable more pleasant. It can do this because of its distinctive taste; you know when no salt has been added and you know if there is too much salt.
In former days, salt had another purpose; it was used to preserve meat and fish. Untreated meat or fish would soon begin to stink, go rotten and make people sick. Adding salt was able to arrest the rottenness, to prevent the decay.
So Jesus challenged those following him to be distinctive, different from those of the world. He knew how rotten Judean society had become. Jesus wanted his followers to block the decay among God’s chosen people so they would become kingdom people themselves.
Jesus also used the metaphor of light. Light enables something to be seen, to be found. Light also illuminates the way. Without light people will grope and stumble. The light gives confidence to move forward without fear, with risk minimised.
So Jesus wanted those following him to be visible; he wanted the faith they held to be evident to others. He knew there were many in Judean society who had lost their way. He required that his followers should light the way. He wanted them to be visible as they did the work of the kingdom. He wanted the Jews to see the fruit of that work and know that the good deeds were of the God they should have been worshipping.
How salty are you today? In your walk with Jesus, have you been more salty than you are now? Have you lost that first love? Have the concerns of the world taken over your life? Have the affluence of our society and its demands that you conform to its agenda led you to lean on a different God?
If now is the saltiest you have ever been, is that as salty as God wants you to be? Could you be more distinctive as a disciple of Jesus?
What kind of a light are you? Do you shine into the corners of darkness, despair and depravity in society? Do you show there is another way to live, a better way? Or do you try to conceal your light, maybe to protect your own reputation or perhaps because you’d rather live an easy life?
How are you going to reach the level of saltiness that God would like you to be? How are you going to light up the places where he has brought you to minister?
Jesus wants us to shine our light in the presence of others to reveal to them what God has done for them in Christ and to attract them to God. The praise of the Father is to be the goal we set. How will you go about achieving that goal?