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.
Matthew 5:13-16 (New International Version)
When Jesus taught His disciples, He told them they were the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’. Why would Jesus use these metaphors to describe His followers? Interestingly enough, salt and light have a lot in common and have qualities that identify well with the purpose of the Christ follower.
The Value of Salt
Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. Even today, the mineral has important uses in everyday life. For one thing, when applied to food, salt serves as a preservative; stopping food from spoiling. Furthermore, the mineral also acts as an antiseptic which is used, however painful, to clean wounds. Finally, salt also provides flavor to the things we eat, making the food tasty.
Salt and the Christian
How can we link salt to a believer in Christ? When a Christian is obeying the Will of God and sharing the the Gospel of Christ to others, they are serving as a preservative, saving the unsaved from the wrath of God’s judgement. This message which we preach can be painful to the one receiving it, but it is necessary in order to bring them to life. Once an unbeliever gets past the conviction of their sin, and accepted the message, the flavor of the Gospel makes life taste good.
The Importance of Light
Light is very important to us. When people are in darkness, they need light to see and find their way. Light also helps us to see the things that are wrong in ourselves. For example, a doctor, when examining a patient, needs light to clearly see in order to figure out what the illness is and figure out how to cure the patient.
The Christian and Light
When we proclaim the Gospel, we are essentially providing a light to the unbeliever who is darkness. At first, the light is blinding and uncomfortable because the unbeliever is so used to the darkness and does not want all their flaws to be clearly seen. However, once they accept that they are not perfect and realize that the light that we share is good for them, they will follow the light that we shine and come to know the source of our light, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We who are Christians have a great responsibility. The moment we placed our faith in Christ and accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, He entrusted to us His Light and His Salt. As Jesus explains to His disciples, the light and salt that He has been given to us must be shared. Things like light and salt only are valuable when they are put to good use.
Being Salt and Light
If we do not proclaim the Gospel by our words and deeds, it is like leaving salt in the pantry or putting a cover over a lamp in a dark room. Such actions are illogical and are an offence to our Savior. We are commanded to be the hands and feet of Christ. Just as our Lord was salt and light in this dark and sinful world, we Christians must be also.