The only thing that light does is shine. It beats no drum, it sounds no trumpet, it makes no announcements, and expects no applause. All light does is shine. “A city built on a hill cannot be hid,” (Matthew 5:14). We must keep in mind that the light shines through God. “God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all.” (1 John 1:5). The light shines in the Savior. “I am the light of the world. . .” (John 8:12). The light shines in the Scriptures. “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105). The light also shines in the saints that are living the Christian life. “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14).
We do not realize our sinfulness until we look at the light. No wonder some live in darkness all week and then blink their eyes and wince in church on Sunday morning. They have photophobia – they fear the light. Christians let their light shine by “exposing the unfruitful works of darkness,’ to the light (Ephesians 5:11). Even with our failures, our conflicts, and our struggles; even with our secret sins, our disappointments and our weaknesses, Jesus says to Christians, YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
Salt seasons food and makes it more palatable. It preserves meat and is needed and necessary to keep things from spoiling. Battles for salt pitted country against country, including the Union and the Confederacy (Battles of Saltville, VA 1 and 2). In Roman times soldiers were paid in salt – hence the saying, “Are you worth your salt?” Salt was a form of wealth, and the word “salary” comes from the word for salt.
We cannot live without salt in our body. “Salt is one component that sends electrical signals throughout the body. Sodium also causes the body to become thirsty by activating electrolytes. . . The water then allows the kidneys to distribute a healthy amount of electrolytes throughout the bloodstream, and this action regulates blood pressure.”
As a Christian we bring the “salt of Jesus” to a dying world that thirsts for direction. We flavor the world, and as salt we can make the world thirst for God when they see Jesus living and working in us. If salt is wealth, then consider how we are the “wealth” of Jesus. We inherited the real wealth when he died on the cross for us and forgave us of our sins. So, we are the body of Jesus; His bride, His church and His salt. Are we making a difference in the world by preserving and seasoning the world by spreading the gospel?
Finally, the figure of leaven suggest that we are to spread our influence by making a difference in our culture. Many passages in Scripture emphasize that leaven needs to be eradicated (especially in the Old Testament, and the events before the eating of the Passover). The idea of leaven suggested the influence of sin as Jesus condemned the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees in passages such as Matthew 16:6-12, Mark 8:15 and Luke 12:1. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, emphasized that sin will leaven the whole lump, and thus demands that the church deal with the man who had sinned and had not repented.
However, in Luke 13:20-21 Jesus taught, “And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
As we consider this, we need to realize that as leaven “leavens the whole lump” secretly and quietly . . . so the church needs to influence the world by living for Jesus, and setting the example of Christianity to the world who does not care about God or his word. It will be hard to do this. Consider how Noah was only able to influence his family, yet we are here today because of his obedience.
Beloved, let us shine as lights in the world. Let us be the salt of the earth and the leaven that influences the world positively.
Adapted – Tommy Tidwell
CHRIST AND INFLUENCE
Socrates taught for forty years, Plato for fifty, Aristotle for forty, and Jesus only three. Yet, those three years infinitely transcended in influence the combined one hundred thirty years of the teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
Jesus painted no pictures; yet the paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci received their inspiration from him.
Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by him.
Jesus composed no music, yet Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach and Mendelssohn reach their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies and oratories written in praise of Jesus.
Thus every sphere of human greatness has been incomparably enriched by the humble Carpenter of Nazareth. But his unique contribution to the race of men is the salvation of the soul. Philosophy could not accomplish that; nor art, nor literature, nor music. “Only Jesus Christ can break the power of sin; only he can speak “power in the strengthless soul, and life into the dead.” The world admires Christ from afar off. Some adopt him as their example and try to pattern their lives after his. A few open the doors of their heart and have invited him to be their Savior.
“Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if he’s not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.”
YOU TELL ON YOURSELF
You tell on yourself by the friends you seek,
By the very manner in which you speak,
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which your burdens bear,
By the kinds of things at which you laugh,
By the papers you sign with your autograph.
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things in which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from a well-filled shelf,
In these ways and more you tell on yourself.
So there’s really no particle of sense,
In an effort to keep up a false pretense.
You tell on yourself.