Salt and light. These are things we encounter on a daily basis without giving them a second thought. It is interesting to note that these simple things were one of the first natural examples used by Jesus to teach what kind of people His disciples were to be. In Matthew chapter 5, immediately following His teachings on the Beatitudes, Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth…” vs. 13; and “You are the light of the world…” vs. 14.
Because of the simplistic natures of salt and light we might overlook the great truth Jesus was trying to present. What is it about these two things that they have in common? The answer is overpowering influence. Whatever they come into contact with or the presence of their very nature causes change in that which is around it. A perfectly refreshing glass of water that has salt added to it no longer has the same appeal, does it? We have all heard of the preservation properties of salt in “salt pork”. What about the process of making homemade ice cream? Without the influence of salt to the melting process the temperature would remain in the 32 degree range. By adding salt to the process the temperature drops to 8-12 degrees, thus allowing the freezing of ice cream to take place.
As for the light, I must ask you, which is the dominator, light or dark? Which one’s influence changes the other? The answer is simply provided by turning on the light switch in a dark room or a flashlight in a cave or out in the night. The presence of light totally overrides the properties of darkness. Granted there are varying levels of light, but darkness is complete and total.
When Jesus told His followers that they were salt and light, He simply stated that they WILL influence and change those around them. How about you? Ask yourself the same question I ask myself. How do I influence those around me? We are both salting and lighting those around us or we are not. Being called an “old salt” can be a good thing!
Copyright © 2005, Nolan P. Rutter