Salt and Light - (with KEYS to sharing our faith)
As believers in Jesus, we’re called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world . . . so that others can taste and see that the Lord is good.
Matthew 5:13-16 (NKJV)
13 “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.”
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Seasoned with (just enough) salt
As Christians, we’re called to bring the “flavor” of God into the world we live in, including sharing the Gospel with the nations and with our neighbors.
But in our zeal to share the truth, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit and loving in our presentation of the Gospel. Salt is good; however, if we take the lid off of our salt-shaker and dump a huge pile of salt on our neighbor’s food and demand, “YOU NEED SALT!!! If you don’t EAT THIS salt right now, you’re going to DIE!”
. . .that approach won’t likely help anything. Your neighbors will think you’re crazy. They will think you’ve ruined their food . . . and their day.
Shining light before others (not in their eyes!)
In the same way, we’re called to be lights for Jesus; but if you’ve ever had car headlights with their high-beams on — directed right at you — or a flashlight shining in your eyes, you can probably understand how a light shining straight “at you” doesn’t help: “HERE, TAKE THIS (as you blast their eyeballs)!!! YOU NEED LIGHT!!!”
If a person is the dark and a bright light is focused directly at them, it doesn’t help them to see; instead, it causes a negative reaction and an instant squinting and shutting of the eyes. It’s a defense mechanism that happens. If we abruptly shine the Gospel “in the face” of others, this response is what we should expect.
But God can give us wisdom.
If we sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on someone’s food and invite them to take a “taste,” the flavor of their food will be awakened to something more delicious than they have ever experienced. If we shine our light on the good pathway (showing how they can get out of the sharp rocks and broken glass), by shining the light “before” them, they will “see” the way to go . . . and will want to follow the light.
Salt and light are good; they enable a person to experience LIFE as never before.
Once people have experienced God’s presence (and as the Holy Spirit draws them to come to God, by His grace and through faith in Him), why would they want to go back to bland nothingness and total darkness?
Personal thoughts from a sobering experience
A while back, one of our nearest neighbors unexpectedly died (from a rapidly advancing stomach cancer, progressing from diagnosis to death within only few short weeks). She was only in her mid-40’s. Jon and I had been on a mission trip to Ireland during the time of her sickness. She died the night we arrived home, before we even knew anything was wrong.
The day after this woman’s death, her husband came over to talk with us and to ask if my husband would perform her memorial service. Over the years, we had really tried to reach out to these neighbors, bringing over little homemade gifts and cards and freshly caught salmon (often as “peace-offerings” for something inadvertently done).
We had prayed for them as we walked by their house and had shared the Lord here and there (although with little or no apparent response); even so, we heard that in the days before her death, our neighbor had prayed with a hospital chaplain, she had reconciled with a estranged relative, and she had spent time in prayer, alone in her room — specifically being comforted by the poem, “Footsteps in the Sand.”
During this grieving time, we spent quite a bit of time praying and talking with her husband (who was remarkably open to the Lord) and our family actually led the entire memorial service — sharing a clear Gospel message, reading this poem (pointing out the phrases, “When I decided to follow you, LORD” and “My precious, precious child, I love you . . . “) and singing a medley of songs about Jesus (What a friend we have in Jesus, I love you Lord, and I have decided to follow Jesus).
It was quite sobering to stand at the podium at our neighbor’s memorial service and to share the Lord with a room full of non-believers (including numerous neighbors). Only God knows where this woman’s heart was at the time her life was over, but we were thankful for the honor of bringing “salt” into her life.
Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
With God’s help, we need to be salt and light, while there is still time.
It makes a difference . . . for eternity.