by Tony Nester

Salt and Light for the World
Tony R. Nester
Matthew 5:13-16

(Matthew 5:13-16 NRSV) ""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. {14} "You are the light of the world.
A city built on a hill cannot be hid. {15} 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. {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 in heaven."

"You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world." Some
compliments make us uneasy and this is one of them.

We all like to be appreciated and affirmed. But we don't want people making us
out to be better than we know we are — that puts too much pressure on us. We
want to get out from under such compliments as soon as we can. We issue
denials: "Not me!"

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus complimented his disciples. I suspect it made
them uncomfortable. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the

Salt and light were two of the most important necessities of life. Salt kept
food from rotting. Light removed darkness. Jesus told the disciples they were
the most important people in the world.

Every Christian is given this same compliment by Jesus. Every disciple is the
salt of the earth; every disciple is the light of the world.

And every Christian issues a denial — we're just not that good. How can we be
as important as Jesus says we are?

These words about salt and light come right after the Beatitudes. But who of
the disciples would have been bold enough to say, "Lord, we fit your description
of those who stand to inherit the Kingdom of God. We're poor in spirit, we're
meek, we're pure in heart, we're full of mercy, we're peacemakers, and we're
r ...

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