Matthew 5:13-16 - Salt and Light

Jesus said: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. This can describe two sets of people in Christian ministry: those in visible service and those who work unseen. Some work in the public eye like preachers and teachers, worship leaders, and others who are always in the spotlight. And some work behind the scenes, like intercessors, who largely go unnoticed. The former are like lights on the street; the latter are like salt in food.

Let us look at each because we are all called to be one or the other, if not both. Mother Teresa was both salt AND light. The preferred ministry is to be like the light because we get noticed. We cannot help but be noticed because we are in the spotlight, and we can get quite a kick out of it. We like it even more when we are appreciated. And we also have a greater sense of satisfaction because we can often see the fruit of our work before our eyes. 

On the other hand, being in a ministry that calls us to be like salt might be less satisfactory because gratitude is rarely received, much less praise. The credit always goes somewhere else. Consider the food that we eat. Without salt, it is bland and tasteless, yet if one enjoys a good meal, it is the food they praise, not the presence of the salt in it. And this sometimes makes people who work as salt resentful because although nothing can happen without them, they are seldom acknowledged. 

But, they should not be despondent because Jesus tells us that the reward in heaven is greater for those who go unappreciated here on earth. Those who work as the light should realize this truth, too, because as Jesus says in today’s passage: let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works, but give glory to your Father in heaven. We should never seek glory for ourselves.

So, salt or light, let’s make sure we provide good flavor or brilliant light. And let us do it only for the glory of God.

May the Spirit be with you.