You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:13-16 NLT
Salt has been used for thousands of years to preserve and season foods. It was once difficult to obtain, so it was a highly valued trade item. For a time, it was even considered a form of currency. Today salt is more readily available and relatively inexpensive (excluding designer salt, of course, but that is a whole other topic!)
I love salt! There was a short time in my life I couldn’t get enough which made me wonder if my body was deficient in sodium. I now only lightly sprinkle salt because I know it doesn’t take much to enhance or improve what I’m eating.
In many ways, this is a picture of my relationship with Christ. In the beginning, when I was deficient in my knowledge of Him, I took in large quantities of information to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Over time, I altered the way I studied and began to sprinkle myself with daily readings and savor what I learned. That sprinkling enhances what I learn and hear as I walk through His word.
In our verses today, salt is used as a metaphor to show how the disciples were to be like salt and preserve their society and the world around them from moral decay by sprinkling them with the knowledge and love of Christ.
There is a story in the Old Testament where Elisha, the prophet, is asked to help a city that is located in a beautiful place but the water is putrid. He sprinkles a little salt and the water is restored to good:
“The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”
“Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.”
So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ ” And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.” Kings 2:19-22 NIV
That’s what happens to us when we accept Christ as our savior and we are sprinkled with the word of God. We become healed from our impurities and forgiven of our sins.
Salt also makes us thirsty, so it’s natural the more we know about God, the more we thirst for Him. Jesus says we should know Him so well our words should always have the seasoning of salt so others will thirst for more:
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NIV
Then Jesus continues this theme when He says we are a light in the world and cannot be hidden. He is basically saying the same thing again with a slightly different emphasis. He stresses we are not to keep the Good News of what has happened and changed in our lives quiet or hidden once we have accepted Jesus. Rather, we are to always be prepared to explain the hope we have as believers:
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Peter 3:15 NLT
When we reflect Jesus in our daily lives, we have the opportunity to influence others and that could be very thing that ultimately leads them to Christ:
“Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” 1 Peter 3:1b-2 NLT
We see from all of these verses, what we say and do as Christians can have a dramatic influence on others.
“Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.” Psalms 119:172 NLT
Finally, there are two words I don’t want you to miss in our verses today: ‘you are.’ Jesus does not use passive language (you could be, you should be, etc.), but rather a truth, or a fact, about who we are once we become believers in Christ. We ARE the salt of the earth and the light of the world; therefore, we must share what we know!
My heart feels the call of the Lord to be salt and light as I read all of these powerful words. Would you, could you, be the salt and light that enhances someone’s life today so they are drawn closer to Jesus?
Father God, thank you for teaching us the value of learning more about You. Today I pray that all who read these words surrender their hearts and lives to You so they can continue the forward movement of Jesus by being salt and light for others. Father, I pray as I go about my day, that I find opportunities to sprinkle Your truth and bring Light to someone who needs to hear about You. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.