Be the ‘salt and light’ of the world

I remember, around age 5, being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I confidently responded, “a giant!” No, I didn’t want to play for the football team in New York or the baseball team in San Francisco. I wanted to be an actual giant. Everywhere I went I wanted to be the biggest and strongest. The idea of being seen for miles sounded awesome.

Well, I eventually matured and “grew” out of that impossible dream. Yet, as I look at our world, I see people with the same dream I had. Teens and adults alike are chasing their dream to be “seen for miles.” No, it’s not called becoming a giant, but it is the same mindset. At some point in our life journey, many of us fall into the trap of desiring fame and influence.

As I look at the teachings of Jesus, however, I see something very different. One of the most famous men in history gave his most famous sermon to a group of poor and needy people outside the city. Jesus wasn’t trying to offer a self-help course on how to become famous, he was teaching the crowd how to honor the Lord with their lives. Close to the beginning of this sermon (found in Matthew Chapters 5-7), he makes two bold statements to the crowd.

“You are the salt of the earth.” Matt. 5:13a “You are the light of the world.” Matt. 5:14a

What is surprising is the extent of the statement. He doesn’t say that these people are the salt and light of their neighborhood or their family. The influence of these poor and needy people is the entire world. Jesus didn’t say this because of their talent or skill. He knew what many of us have begun to understand, when we stop chasing our own spotlight and surrender ourselves to the Lord, our lives find true meaning and purpose. We are the salt and light of the entire world because of his power, not our own. So, what is the message “of light” that the world needs to hear? Jesus can change your life. When we surrender ourselves to the one who loved us enough to sacrifice himself for our sin, he begins to change our hearts, minds and relationships. Life is still stressful and I still make mistakes, but I recognize that I’m not alone. I may never be a giant, but I serve the one who is.

The writer is the lead pastor at Connection Point Church of God, Sidney.