April 21: Salt and Light

Read Matthew 5:1-16

As Moses received the call of God to lead his Israelite brothers and sisters out of bondage in Egypt, he asked God to identify Himself. The answer he was given was that “Yahweh” had sent him. God is the great “I am.” He is the self-existent, eternal one. Dependent on none other and abiding forever, He is the one to whom we look.

But the Bible doesn’t only give us reminders of God’s identity.Jesus also informs us of our own. Nestled in the early verses of the Sermon on the Mount are two symbolic/parabolic reminders. Followers of Jesus are salt and light. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are to be salt and light.

In the first century, salt served two purposes. We are familiar with the first, because, still today, it enhances taste. What would corn on the cob or french fries be without salt? When salt is missing on some of our favorite dishes, we notice it immediately. But, in the time of Jesus, salt also served the purpose of preserving foods. Even into more recent times, prior to methods of refrigeration, raw foods were salted. The salt drew out the moisture making it impossible to support harmful molds and bacteria. If you are a follower of Jesus, your preserving presence in this world should be as obvious as salted food.

Meanwhile, followers of Jesus are also light in a darkened world. Light was not intended to be concealed. It was intended to be obvious, to stand out. I suppose there are a variety of ways in which Christians have stood out over the centuries. They have been the “odd man out” with regard to the way they dressed or the list of things they do not do. While things like that may still have their place today, Jesus describes “good works” as the feature that captures the attention of others. Is your life characterized by compassionate acts? By generosity? By helpfulness? By genuine concern and kind gestures?

Oh, there is one more thing. Somehow, as others taste those “salt of the earth” and observe those “light of the world” differences in us, somehow they know to give glory and credit to God. That must mean that our walk is complemented by our talk.

sbk

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