“What are you doing, Dad?” asked Elijah
“Mom and I decided we’d like a window here in this wall, so I’m measuring and marking where I need to cut the hole for it.” Dad carefully drew lines where he planned to cut.
“Why do you want a window there?” asked Elijah as he helped Dad with the tape measure. “You want to see the garage next door while you eat?
“The view may not be so great, but just wait and see what a difference a window makes,” Dad said as he put the tape measure back into his toolbox.
The next day Dad carefully cut a hole in the wall and fit a new window into place.
“Wow!” Elijah said as he came into the room. “I think I like having a window there after all. The view is better than I thought it would be. We can see sky, trees, birds, some of the lawn—and as expected, we also have a really good view of the side of the Wilson’s garage.” He smiled. “But you know the best thing of all about this new window?”
“What’s that?” asked Dad.
“It’s so much brighter in here!” Elijah said. “When it’s sunny outside, I could probably do my homework without turning a light on.”
“Quite different, isn’t it?” Dad stood back and admired the window. “Did you know that we should be like this window?”
“How do we do that?” asked Elijah.
“Well, the window lets light into our house, and we can bring Jesus’ light into the lives of others,” Dad explained.
“I can see the light that comes through the window,” said Elijah, “But you can’t really see the light Jesus gives, can you?”
“In a way, you can,” said Dad. “Like when you became friends with Sam and invited him to come to church with you. Or when you volunteered to walk Mr. Freeman’s dog when he was sick instead of playing with your friends after school.”
“You mean I was shining Jesus’ light when I did those things?” Elijah asked.
Dad nodded. “When you tell people about Jesus and follow His example by helping others, that’s a bright light showing His love.”
In Matthew 5:13-20, Jesus spells out to the disciples and to us what the distinguishing marks of a Christian will be in the world. Jesus’ use of the symbol of salt emphasizes the call and influence of purity Christians bring to society. Just like salt keeps food from spoiling, Christians are preserving elements in society. They make the earth more authentic. Because of how they live and reach out to others, they will be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.”
When Jesus tells the disciples that they are the salt of the earth, He is also speaking to us. He calls us to be those whose hearts are so devoted to God and others that the world is a more flavourful and colourful place for everyone we meet. If we allow ourselves to be swept along without discerning truth, we become salt that has lost its taste. If we are true followers of Jesus, we have our marching orders. We have work to do. Our faith is the ransom for our chaotic, violent and enslaving times. We must rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit for discernment of truth and for inspiration to action.
Salt has a number of characteristics that illustrate the Christian’s role in the world. It hinders the spread of corruption; it creates thirst; and it enhances flavour. Christians who live out the virtues described in the Beatitudes achieve all three of these purposes. Salt also makes food pleasant and palatable. Christians are to keep the world from entering moral corruption. Their prayers bring down God’s blessings, and by their influence and example they save the world from universal vice and vibe.
A man was flying his single-engine plane toward a small, rural airport. When he arrived at the close of the day, the sun had already dropped behind the mountain. By the time he had maneuvered into position to land, he couldn’t see the landing strip. There was no one on duty at the airport, and there were no lights on the plane.
The pilot circled the runway for another attempt to land, but the darkness had become even more impenetrable. For two hours the pilot flew around, knowing full well that he faced certain death when the fuel tank emptied.
Then, as panic began to seize him, a wonderful thing happened. Someone who lived near the airport heard the drone of a small plane engine and realized there was a problem. That kind person drove to the airport and drove his car back and forth on the runway to indicate the direction of the airstrip. He then drove to the far end of the runway, positioned his car’s headlights, and turned them on high beam to shine down the stretch of the runway.
The pilot landed safely.
All Christians are lights of the world because they, by their instructions and examples, show the world what God requires, what man’s true condition is, and what is the way of duty, peace and happiness—the way that leads to heaven. We are to let it be seen that we are real Christians.
Christians must allow God’s light to be on full display in their lives. Their responsibility is twofold: to guard against anything that can separate them from their only source of light and to let their light shine so that others will see the reality of Christ in them and glorify their heavenly Father. Christians do not call attention to themselves. They point the way to God. They get their light from the Light of the World.
Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament law. He came to make its meaning full and complete. He cut through human interpretations and revealed the broad principles from which He interpreted the meaning of Old Testament law. He focused on the righteousness of the Law.
In Hebrew, the jot looks like an apostrophe. As the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet it is the easiest letter to omit. The tittle is a seemingly insignificant mark, yet it is critical in Hebrew for distinguishing one letter from another. Every biblical teaching and prophecy-even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant-must be fulfilled. Whoever keeps and teaches God’s Word will be the greatest in the kingdom. Kingdom citizens are to uphold every part of God’s Law both in their lives and their teaching. The world desperately needs salty Christians-people who hold fast to God and His Word and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
A few years ago, someone wrote to Billy Graham. She and her husband traveled to Europe the previous summer and visited some of the vast cathedrals. They were shocked to see that only a handful of people attended services in these cathedrals. She wondered if Christianity was dying in Europe and if the same thing could happen in North America.
Billy Graham replied, “Christians must share some of the blame for many of the trends we see around us. How often do you pray for your pastor, the teachers in your schools, or those in public office? How often have we failed to reach our young people with the message of the Gospel? How often have we failed to teach them what it means to follow Jesus? Ask Christ to make you a light for the Gospel right where you are. Pray especially for the young people in your community, that they may come to know Christ and follow Him in their daily lives.”
If we as Christians have lost our taste, or our light is dim, we need to ask ourselves why. What or who do we fear? Who or what has silenced us? When we signed on for this task, did we forget that what we might have to say or do could be met with resistance?
We can’t be a light unless we have received it or experienced it. If our world is shrouded in darkness, it’s hard for us to “let our light shine” as Jesus would have us do. Even if the light we have been given to shine seems so small, it goes a long way.
How can you share the light of Jesus with others? You can shine His light in a dark and hurting world by telling others about Him and showing them His love. By sharing what He’s done for you and treating others with kindness and helping them, you can brighten others’ lives and show them that you know Him—and help them want to know Him too.
Over 100 years ago, Edward Kimball, a layman, gathered the nerve to share his Christian faith with Dwight L. Moody, a shoe salesman, who accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. Dwight Moody became one of the greatest evangelists of his day. The world renowned Moody Bible Institute in Chicago was founded by Dwight Moody.
Dwight Moody went to England and profoundly changed the ministry of F.B. Meyer who, with his renewed evangelistic fervor, influenced J. Wilbur Chapman. In turn, Chapman helped in the ministry of converted baseball player Billy Sunday, who had a profound impact on evangelist Mordecai Ham. When Mordecai Ham held a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina, he led Billy Graham to Christ. The man who started it all was a layman who took seriously Christ’s instructions to be a witness in our world.
When we sin, it hurts our witness. It defiles our conscience. If we are going to have a witness about our life, we need a clean heart. This does not mean that everything we do, say or think will be perfect. We need to keep close accounts with God regarding sin in our personal life.
What “good works” do people see you doing that reflect well on God? How does your faith cause you to behave differently from anyone else? Our words, actions and conversations matter. Our lives affect the lives of those around us. In response to what Christ has done for us, we are to live like Christ as we point others to His love. We will face hardship and ridicule, but the world needs what we have to offer. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. He allows us to share the salt of God’s love in a bland, dying world. Our impact might not always be immediately obvious. It’s the little things that make a difference, such as the patience we show a child or the time we take to listen to a friend who has a problem.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New Kings James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 1289)
- Diana M. Martin, “Bright Light.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Part of Wordsearch 12 Bible software package.
- Augsberger, M.S. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol.24: Matthew Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; p. 18)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Dr. Jeff Schreve, “More Salt!” Retrieved from www.fromhisheart.org
- Jessica Bordelau, “Salted.: Retrieved from email@example.com
- Dr. Steven Davey, “Light Up the Runway.” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Steven Davey, “Revival Starts with You.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- “Is Your Life Making a Difference?” Retrieved from Oneplace@crosswalkmail.com
- Richard Innes, “Let Your Light Shine.” Retrieved from www.actsweb.org
- The Rev. Billy Graham, “Is Christianity Dying in Europe?” Retrieved from www.arcamax.com
- Jude Siciliano, O.P., “First Impressions, 5th Sunday (A), February 9, 2020.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Karoline Lewis, “Just Be It.” Retrieved from www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?post=4807
- The Rev. Janet Hunt: “You are the Light of the World…” Retrieved from http://dancingwiththeword.com/you-are-the-light-of-the-world
- Carol & Dennis Keller, “Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time February 9, 2020.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Paul Schreiber, “Indispensable.” Retrieved form email@example.com