Welcome to the first edition of “Pastor’s Pen!” It is my hope that as you read these weekly blogs, you will be encouraged and strengthened in the faith. In our “What’s the Point” video series we studied the beatitudes in Matthew 5, and in this blog, we will move right into the next section of the Sermon on the Mount. Look with me at Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” What is Jesus saying here?
Salt is a necessary nutrient, and it is an important ingredient in just about every food imaginable. It enhances flavor and makes all food test better. When there isn’t salt, you recognize it. Have you ever eaten French fries without salt? You can immediately tell what is missing, because without salt they are tasteless and bland. Salt is also a preservative, and it has the ability to prevent food from spoiling. Because of salt’s flavor enhancing and preserving qualities, it was actually a very hot commodity back in Jesus’s day. But if the salt lost its taste, it became worthless. It wasn’t good for anything. So when Jesus says that “we are the salt of the earth” He is saying that as his followers we are the ones who add flavor to this dull and tasteless world. We are to be the ones who offer hope to this lost and dying world. We are the ones who are to preserve the eternal life of others by sharing the truths of Jesus with them and lead them to the way everlasting. But we will only be effective as salt if we take the command to live on mission seriously. Paul said in Colossians 4:5-6 “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” We are to make the most of every opportunity to testify to the good news. If we keep the gospel to ourselves and do not live salty lives, we will be ineffective. We will be tasteless, dull, and bland, and nothing about that is helpful to the world.
The other analogy in this short passage is that of Light. Jesus teaches how foolish it would be to light a lamp and then immediately cover it up. That would be pointless, the purpose of a lamp is to let it shine so it gives light to the house. Have you ever tried to find something in a room with the lights off? It is a foolish effort. You need light to see in the dark. In the same way, this world that we live in is dark. Our world is corrupted by sin and the prince of this world has taken people captive and blinded them from seeing the truth. But as followers of Jesus, we are to let our light shine before others. Jesus said in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” If you know Jesus and have claimed him as your Lord and Savior you have the light of life, the only true light that can deliver this world from darkness. It would be foolish then to hide this light. How silly would it be for you to see someone wandering aimlessly in a dark room and not turn the light on for them? There are people in my life and in yours as well who do not know Jesus and are living in darkness. You might think that you aren’t brave enough to tell someone about Jesus, or it will be awkward, or you might lose friends or popularity, but I tell you that losing someone for all eternity is so much worse! It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus, mine and yours, to shine our light boldly and brightly so that those who are lost may see and believe. So as you go about your responsibilities this week I implore you, do not lose your saltiness or hide your light!