Last week we had a visiting pastor preach on Matthew 5:13-16, in which Jesus says:
“You are the salt of the earth. but if the salt loses it’s saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
I have often heard this passage referenced, but never really understood the salt part. The light makes sense, but salt? Pastor Tim did a great job explaining this to me and this past week the Lord did one better and actually showed me how we, as Christians, can be salt in this world.
As Pastor explained it, salt is a preservative and also holds a great influence over anything it touches. Salt has such a distinct taste that it is noticeable right away (especially if you mistakenly use it instead of sugar in your coffee). We are called to be the same; to help preserve and slow the decay of this world by living our lives for Jesus. And to do so in such a way that others cannot help but notice how different we are. And we are to be salt wherever we are; home, work, church, grocery store, gas station, dentist’s office, school; and also to everyone, believers and unbelievers alike. That is something I didn’t think too much about until this past weekend, when some of my friends, my Brothers & Sisters in Christ, were salt for me.
That may sound strange, so let me explain. The past few weeks have been some rough ones for me. Between being sick (which stinks doubly when you live alone), and having car problems (one after the other, after the other), and a few frozen pipes in my house, I had just had enough. Add some extra hormones in the mix and you get one really frustrated and exhausted lady. Friday night we had music practice for church. I got there first and had just gotten my car back (for the second time in a week and a half) and was still trying to figure out when someone was coming to unfreeze the drain pipe of my bath tub (which was half full of water from the day before). I was done. No more. I knew God would not give me more than I could handle, but I wasn’t handling this all very well. Of course that is when some Brothers came in. Clearly I was distressed so when the question of, “Is everything ok?” was asked it was met with a small meltdown of all that was going on. There were hugs and reassurance as everyone else joined us and as we got into the music I was good. Afterwards one of my Sisters asked if I’d like to join them all for dinner. I had thought I would stop and get soup on my way home and mope about, as that was the mood I was in. I’m not sure I responded as I was asked again by at least one other person. I decided it was a much better option and went along. We all chatted and had a nice time and the kids ran around with shouts of laughter.
What has any of that have to do with salt, you ask? Later I realized that these Brothers and Sisters of mine were acting as salt for me. For my spirit. For my heart. For my mind. I was so ready to go home; probably end up watching some horrible romantic comedy that would push me over the edge and end with me in tears longing for my own Hollywood ending (which can sometimes happen when my brain isn’t thinking properly and hormones are involved). But they stepped in. Whether they were aware of their impact, or not, they helped preserve my heart and my emotional state. The love they showed kept me from sinking further down.
Jesus also says we are to be light. Pastor Tim also did a great job explaining this. Most of it is understandable on its own. We, as Christians, are to visibly live our lives for Jesus so people can see us brightly, so that darkness is exposed in our presence. Light is another great influence as when it appears, no matter how dimly, it casts out some of the darkness and changes everything. We are not the source of the light, though, that is Jesus. He is the Light; we are His reflectors. We reflect Him and represent His presence here on the earth. We can do that many ways, but one of the most noticeable and quite astounding, is by loving.
This love, though, is not just a feeling. It’s not just something we do when we like a person. It has nothing at all to do with emotions toward anyone. It all has to do with a choice. This is agape love. Unconditional love. Sacrificial love. A love rooted down so deep, a decision made unwaveringly, that no matter what happens, this love remains. It is the love that lead Jesus to not only come to earth, but also to go to the cross to give up His life for us, that we might join Him and the Father in heaven. He, of course, is the perfect example of agape love; He gave the ultimate sacrifice. We are not often called to lay down our lives for another, but there are so many ways we can reflect the light of Jesus through the love He gives us.
I also experienced that these past few weeks. As I mentioned, I had been sick and my car had to get some work done. I was without my car for one week and then a few days more just a couple day after I got it back. Other friends, other Brothers and Sisters, were willing to get me things I needed when I was sick and drive me to and from work (even when it meant one got to work earlier than usual). They chose to love me in a way that they didn’t have to, but they did. And in doing so they reflected the love of Christ, and it is to Him I give thanks and glory.
I may be living on my own right now, but these past few weeks God has shown me (to a great extent) how very un-alone I am. Thank you, Brothers and Sisters, for doing so well what we all have been commanded to do. Thank You, Father, for blessing me with this awesome Family. Without You, and without them, I would be living a very sad single life indeed.
May you be granted the opportunity to be both salt and light today. And as you reflect His goodness and love may others praise our Father in heaven.
Love & Blessings,