Summary: The conclusion of my Be-Attitudes series, using the images of salt and light to encourage people to put the Be-Attitudes to practice.
The Be-Attitudes #10 – “Making the Be-Attitudes your attitudes”
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni.
March 25, 2007
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 by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
The be-attitudes are Christ’s pattern for living.
They are his essential teachings as to how we should approach life.
To walk away from pride and confess our need for Christ.
To face sorrow with Christ at our side
To serve others as Christ serves us,
To crave righteousness more than supper,
To lend a hand when others are in need,
To remain focused on the true Saviour in a world of counterfeit messiahs
To bring harmony to broken relationships
and to be ready for opposition when we strive to serve Christ.
The Be-Attitudes mean nothing if we do not make them our attitudes.
He has explained to us what it means to live his way,
and now he encourages us to get on with it.
He was speaking to people who lived by simple means,
so he uses two simple illustrations to get them motivated.
Salt was one of their staples – serving as a seasoning and more importantly as a preservative.
Light was what they gauged their days by;
they patterned their lives after the rising and setting of the sun.
How do these two things move us to put the be-attitudes into practice? Let’s take a look at each of them, salt first, then light.
Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result.
Tears will get you sympathy, sweat will get you change. - Jesse Jackson
You are the salt of the Earth.
While salt that is actually mixed into the earth prevents growth, the phrase ‘salt of the Earth’ has come to mean the kind of people which promote “growth” all around them, and also the kind of person that we all should have a great deal of respect for.
Not so much the people who attract a lot of attention, but the people who hold our world together just by doing what they believe is right.
The people who give their time to help children learn how to read,
the people who pray for loved ones for hours,
the people who have a fresh pie for every new comer at the church,
the people who fix up a single mom’s car for free.
If you ask me, these are the kind of people that Jesus brought together to make us this church.
Note here that Jesus says that this is the kind of people we are.
Not were or should be or must be or can be or maybe be –
he says WE ARE these kind of people.
Part of living for him is being who we are, as Christians,
and doing what we can, as followers of Christ,
to make the world around us a better place.
We don’t need fancy programs or expensive gifts or elaborate worship services to make a difference; we just have to do what God gives us to do when the time comes for us to do it!
We need to put the be-attitudes into practice,
and allow Christ to mould us and make a difference through us.
When we do, we bring flavour to the world around us just like salt flavours the food it comes in contact with.
When we don’t, we are like salt that has lost it’s saltiness.
Now, salt losing it’s saltiness isn’t a picture we can relate to very well. When have we ever seen salt that has lost it’s saltiness? We buy a box of salt, stick it in the cupboard and five or ten years later - it’s still salt!
But Jesus isn’t just making stuff up here,
he’s drawing a picture from real life experience to make his point.
In Israel, salt was taken from the shores of the Dead Sea and in the hill of Salt (Jebel Usdum), a 15-square-mile (4,000 hectares) elevation at the SW corner of the Dead Sea.
This area was traditionally associated with the fate of Lot’s wife (Gn. 19:26), who was transformed into a pillar of salt when she looked back on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.