Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

Back in the old days, when I was in middle school, we would have special “50’s Days.” We would wear our jeans with the bottoms rolled up, white t-shirts, and use far more Brylcreem than we needed to grease back our hair. Remember that stuff? Remember the promise that “A Little Dab Will Do Ya!”?

Jesus says the same about salt and light.

The thing about both salt and light is that both are extraordinarily important to our lives but neither exists purely for its own sake. They serve life by enhancing what is already there. A little salt makes food taste better, helps in the healing process, cures and preserves meat. But no one sits down to a meal of salt. Light exposes the world, but no one spends a day gazing into a light bulb or staring at the sun.

Yet even the darkest cave cannot stand before the light of a dimly lit candle. Jesus was a master at word pictures!

And notice as well that Jesus isn’t saying that those who follow him “ought to be” the salt of the earth and light of the world – he declares that they already are! And yet….salt can lose its saltiness and light can be covered up and therefore deny its purpose.

We reach back into these words of Jesus every time someone is baptized – Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Again, notice the words. You ARE the light. That means you are a tool, you are an instrument, not to shine for the sake of shining but to enhance the lives of others. Not so that you get the credit or the glory but so that you help the world to see God in action. In the flesh. In the real world. Even through you.

It kind of changes everything, doesn’t it?

Let us pray: Dear Lord, you declare us to be both salt and light. Use us today that we not waste the opportunities that come our way to make life better for others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


3 Responses to “Matthew 5:13-16”

  1. Susan DeVinny Says:

    Thank you for your lesson yesterday and skill in eliciting, so much from us. I am glad to know of this “Way” of seeing the word. You are a gifted teacher. Thank you for honoring Marlin with your presence on the peninsula. You were special to him as he was to you.

  2. Arnie Reah Says:

    Matthew 5:16 has been one of my favorite verses for a long time. I could talk for hours about what it has meant in my life. Most important to me is that Jesus always gave the glory to our Father in Heaven, and He asks us to do the same thing. Not to give glory to Him, but to the Father.

  3. Carolee Groux Says:

    May the glory be thine, not mine. Amen

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