Summary: We are called to be the salt and light of the world. Are we?
Salt and Light
August 31, 2014
On Sunday, April 8, 1945, German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken from a worship service he had just conducted for prisoners to a concentration camp in Flossenburg. He was tried for treason and hanged just a couple weeks before the Allied Forces liberated the prison camp. A doctor at the scene described Bonhoeffer’s final moments:
“Through the half-open door in one of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison clothes, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so submissive to the will of God. (H. Fisher- Hullstrung, "A Report from Flossenburg," in I Knew Dietrich Bonhoeffer, p. 232).
Bonhoeffer believed the words of Jesus, even to the point of death. ‘You Dietrich, are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world.’ When we accept those words, it may mean that we are called to do something which will lead to persecution, ridicule and difficult decisions. It means radical obedience to Jesus. It means we should make a difference for Jesus. If you believe those words of Jesus, then are you being salt and light to this world? In order to best answer the question, let’s take a look at what Jesus meant when He told the disciples and us we are to be salt and light.
Let’s look at the words of Jesus from Matthew 5:13-16 ~
13 “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.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 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.
16 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.
Salt adds flavor to whatever it touches. In fact most of us don’t even think about salt unless we’re on salt-free or low-salt diets. Who wants to eat salt-less potato chips, or saltless pretzels, even a little salt on french fries and potatoes. And to benefit those who can’t have salt, there are items we can buy which taste like salt, but do not contain any.
A Christian who is the salt of the earth, gives taste to a world that is sinful, bland, and without joy. Christians who influence this world give taste to a tasteless world. We add divine flavor.
Salt creates thirst. If you eat salty food, you get thirsty. If you go to a Chinese buffet, they intentionally make the food salty. Why? So you’ll have to drink more liquid, which fills you up, so you eat less. Have you ever been to a bland buffet?
Generally speaking people who are described as ‘salty’ are usually considered irritating, unpleasant and angry people. Most people don’t really want to hang out with them. So, we don’t want to be described as this type of salty Christian. That will actually lead people away from Christ.
But, as salty Christians, we should create a thirst for God in those who don’t know Him. A Christian should help people have the desire to drink from the living water of Christ. There should be something about Christians that is different from the world.
In his book How to Live, G. Campbell Morgan, the famous minister of Westminster Chapel in London, told about a conversation he had with a man who said he invited a coworker to church. He told Morgan they had worked together for 5 years and never knew the other was a believer in Christ. The man thought it was funny. But to his surprise, Morgan exclaimed, "Funny?! No, it isn't funny at all! You both need to be born again." You see, it was inconceivable to Morgan that two men could be Christian, work side-by-side and not be aware that they were brothers in Christ.
Do the people around you know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ? Do they see it in your actions? Do they see it in your words? I know when I’m coaching, I will never curse. I may raise my voice to get someone’s attention. But I will also put my arm around them, talk to them, find reason to praise them. This week one of the boys on the team told me that someone else from the team was calling him names. He’s not the best player, but I was able to spot him doing something right in the game, and I called him out and praised him in front of the other boys.