Matthew 5:13-16 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 town built 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 glorify your Father in heaven.
Pastor Dick has been sharing points from The Sermon on The Mount from the fifth chapter of Matthew the last few weeks, and we will continue that as we move forward. The Sermon on The Mount follows Jesus’ Galilean ministry, where he had been healing and teaching. Matthew apparently regarded it as the epitome of Jesus’ teaching, of which His whole ministry was an illustration.
Concerning, as it does, the very heart of Jesus’ teaching, we may tend to think of The Sermon on The Mount as being to the New Testament what The Ten Commandments is to the Old Testament. Every Christian ought to try to memorize The Sermon on The Mount and strive earnestly to live according to its teachings.
Today’s reading, Matt 5:13-16, talks about us being Salt and Light. Our Job Description as a follower of Christ is to be Salt & Light. Salt has long been a preservative, preventing spoilage of meats and other food products when there was no refrigeration available. It is also a flavor enhancer. It brings out the flavor or goodness of many foods. Although we use less salt in our foods today than we use to, due to medical advice, it does make many things taste better.
How can we be considered The Salt, or Salty? When we act in ways that make things better for others, helping, teaching, sharing, sacrificing. If we fail to do these things, we have lost our “saltiness” and are of no value in the Kingdom. If seasoning loses its flavor, it has no value. If we, as Christians, make no effort to affect the world around us in a positive way, we are of little value to God.
If we are too much like the world, we are worthless. Christians should not blend in with everyone else. Instead, we should affect others and their circumstances positively, just as seasoning brings out the best flavor or goodness in food.
Being a light to the world – The second part of our “Job Description” Jesus, himself, is The Light of the world. He told us that in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8, verse 12. We, as His followers, should reflect His light and glory. The grandest motive that a person can have is that by his, or her, manner of life, others might be inspired to glorify God.
So, how do we be a light? And fulfill our “Job Description” We look out for the interests of others. We look for ways to serve, welcome, and promote goodness for others. We let others see our good works to instill in them to live likewise, bringing Jesus’ desires to fruition. There is a paradox here, however. In other teachings we are admonished to do our good works in private, not letting our left hand know what our right is doing, not letting others know of our good works, lest we get credited for them here and now as opposed to being rewarded by God.
Tough situation. How do we handle this? If we live for Christ, we will have a glow, or “light” about us in our manner and actions, showing others what Christ is like.
We hide our “light” by:
- Being quiet when we should speak up.
- Going along with the crowd.
- Letting Sin dim our “light”
- Denying the Light – Jesus.
- Not explaining our “light” to others.
- Ignoring the needs of others.
We need to be a beacon of truth and light, and not shut our light off from the world. Jesus reminded the apostles that you do not light a light and put it under a basket. You put it on a stand where it can provide light to the whole house. You put it on the top of a hill where it shines for the whole city.
How do we accomplish that in fulfilling our Job Description?
- Gathering as a community of faith, where the community at large sees us worshipping and working together.
- Inviting others to join in our gathering and worshipping.
- Community service projects like members of our congregation have done providing for the needs of others who may not have the ability or the resources to do it for themselves.
- Providing gifts for those in need like we do at Christmas for needy families.
- Looking out for older folks who may need assistance.
- Looking out for younger people or those with special needs who need guidance or teaching.
- Supporting other ministry operations.
- Sharing with and praying with or for others.
And the list can go on and on.
Our light shines best when we are working together for the welfare of others. We demonstrate to the world how we are different by being Jesus’ hands and feet, as well as His voice in promoting goodwill and justice. So, our “Job Description” is to try to be like Christ, serving others.