Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
“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.” Matthew 5: 13-16
Within a week of moving to NZ I was asked to give a short thought on this verse in Matthew 5 for a vespers program called Night Life. The theme for the night was about being on the fence or being a lukewarm Christian. This is something that I think most youth struggle with. This world we live in has an amazing ability to distract us from what is important. We are too busy, distracted, or in need of a break that we don’t focus on what we can become or have become. There are lots of things that can cause us to lose our saltiness.
Having just moved to NZ I had this opportunity to present myself in whatever way I wanted. Nobody knew who I was or what I stood for. They didn’t know if I had a nickname, they didn’t know what I loved, or where I had been. I had this rare opportunity to start with a clean slate, to dictate how I was viewed. I contemplated using a new accent or changing my name. Eventually it came down to me deciding all that wouldn’t be me, it would be somebody else. I did have to become a more responsible version of myself because I was no longer the person attending school; I was working at the school. But I was still me, I still could account for who I was and what I stood for.
In this verse Jesus is calling his followers to keep their salt, to be on fire, and not to sit on the fence; he is challenging us to live a life like his and to not wear a mask. This is a challenge to live every moment exhibiting exactly what it means to be a Christian. What it means for our studies, our work, our relationships, etc. Christianity should be reflected in all parts of our life, just as salt changes each dish it is added to. It is so easy for us to put on this mask of this ideal person that is living in our body. No matter how good that mask is, no matter who they are, they aren’t you. You do not need a mask because you are already beautiful. When we apply this mask we begin to lose ourselves and we lose our salt. So tell me, when you meet somebody for the first time, can they tell what you stand for, that you are a Christian, that you have salt? Could they guess without you telling them?
Follow up question; do you think that people knew what Jesus stood for when they met him for the first time, even if they hadn’t ever heard of him before? I think yes, not because of his incredible works or his miracles, but because of his LOVE. Jesus loved everybody who came in contact with him. He loved the filthy, the sick, the thieves, and the proud. So… when you meet somebody for the first time, can they tell who you are and what you stand by? Can they tell that you are a Christian by your love?
We are called to live a life on one side of the fence, a life of light, and a life with salt. Do you live a life of salt? Do you simply exist as a Christian or do you live as a Christian?