How can I be salt and light in my community?

Jesus commanded us to be salt and light, but what did he mean, and how can we apply this teaching to our lives today?

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus says: “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.

“You are the light of the world. A town built 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 

Why salt?

Nowadays, we largely use salt to flavour our food. There’s nothing like a bit of salt to pep up a stew or to season our chips, is there? In Jesus’ day salt was much more valuable. The Greeks considered it to have divine qualities, while some Roman citizens were paid in salt. Biblical offerings were also required to contain salt.

So what significance does this have for us now? First, we should leave a godly flavour wherever we go. Don’t settle for tasting the same way as everything else around you! Second, we should give those around us a thirst for God. We should model what it is to be like Christ in such a way that they want to follow suit. Third, we must live pure lives that help to prevent the decay of sin in the world and to keep our faith fresh. If you’ve lost your saltiness, you may feel as though God has thrown you out and trampled you underfoot. But God can restore what no man can. Ask him to give you back your saltiness and then use it to good effect.

Why light?

What happens when a light shines in the darkness? The darkness disappears! It’s impossible for darkness to swallow up light, but light shows up all that was hidden in the gloom. This is how we should live our lives: plainly and blamelessly for all to see. That sounds like rather a tall order, doesn’t it? Fortunately, the light we’re called to shine isn’t our own. We merely need to reflect that of the true Light of the World, Jesus himself. If we follow his example and live by his teachings, we will bring light wherever we go, even in the darkest of places. Be the lighthouse that keeps those around you from striking the rocks. Be the lamp that lights people’s paths as they walk towards the Father.

Finally, remember why we are called to be salt and light in the first place. The clue comes in verse 16. Our aim should always be to bring glory to our heavenly Father.

Prayer

Lord, restore my saltiness and revive my light. Show me where preservation is needed and give me the ability to fight the decay of sin and death. Show me where the greatest darkness lies and how I can bring your light and hope to others. May I make an impact wherever I go, all for your glory. Amen.