“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 by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-14, 16)
This passage of Scripture calls us to be two very important things. Let’s look at both of them and see how well we are doing. Let’s get a handle on what Jesus was talking about when He brought this message forth in the Sermon on the Mount.
1. Salt of the Earth (vs. 13
Salt was used in the ancient world to do a few things. It was used to flavor foods, used in small doses as a fertilizer, but mostly it was used as a preservative. The salt was rubbed into meat to keep it from decaying.
We are called to be preservers on this earth. We are called to preserve God’s Truth, His standard, His ways, and the life that He called us to live. We are not to conform to the world’s pattern of living, but we are to stand out from it. We are called to add flavor to the world around us. Think of it as being your own personal salt shaker. Every time someone encounters you, they should feel seasoned with God’s salt in your life. They should feel a little flavored by the grace God has poured out in abundance on your life.
If they somehow do not experience this grace when they are with you, then something needs to change. Maybe the holes of your salt shaker are clogged, maybe your salt is sticking together, or maybe you need to get a refill. People should always be able to feel refreshed, encouraged, lifted up, and full of joy when they leave your presence. Are people experiencing God’s grace when they are with you? Have you been a good salt shaker? If not, check into the manufacturer. He will supply you with a fresh dose of salt. Enough to supply all your needs and more. He will fill you up and send you out to season someone’s life!
2. Light of the World (vs. 14)
The “city on a hill” is a reference to the ancient towns that were built of white limestone and often gleamed in the sun. They were not easily hidden from people, as the sun made them shine very brightly. Then during the night, the inhabitants of such towns would light their oil lamps and the glow from the light would be shed over the surrounding area. Are you starting to get the picture of how bright this light could be? We are not talking about a match, a little flashlight, or even a candle. We are talking about a pretty fierce light. This is the kind of light that Jesus wanted the disciples to shine. In fact let’s look at a verse below…
“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 5:14-15)
It was simply unthinkable to light a lamp and then hide it. Jesus did not come to give us the light, so we could hide it. He didn’t come to live, die and be resurrected for us… so we could make excuses on why we don’t need to shine our light. He came to bring light to the darkness. He came to dispel the darkness. We become the bearers of this light when we accept Jesus into our hearts. We have the privilege to shine that light daily to every corner of our lives. Jesus said we are the light of the world.
There is no exception on where to shine our light. There is no place where God says, “Okay, I understand why you don’t feel like sharing your light here.” No, that’s silly! Would you light a candle in your house and then hide it? Would you turn a flashlight on and then put it under the couch? Would you light a match just to snuff it out? What’s the point of having light, if we don’t use it to shine into the darkness?
Every single one of us walks into dark places almost daily. How will we shine our lights for Jesus? How will we be the city on the hill?
Challenge: Read Matthew 5:1-41, I’m going to change it up a little bit and have you read from the passage that I’m writing on. I think that will work better. Sorry I’m still working out the kinks of this new system! Let me know how the reading challenge is going for you. What works and what doesn’t work?
Memory Verse: 1 Peter 1:15-16 or 1 Peter 1:13-16
Dear Father God, I pray that You will season me with grace. Help me to add more flavor to the lives of those I come in contact with. May I find myself becoming a better salt shaker for You. I pray that my light would shine brightly for You. I desire to be that city on a hill that Your Son spoke about. Please hide me behind the cross and shine Your light ever so brightly through my life!
Desiring to be a Giver of Flavor through the seasoning of Salt,