Easy question: What word did Jesus use to fill in the blank in the title of this article from the Sermon on the Mount?
Matthew 5:13 is a familiar verse to most Christians, and I’m sure you know the missing word is salt. In the next verse, Jesus also told us we are the “light of the world.” Unfortunately, today I think believers often fill in that blank with other words. Some Christians think their job as a Christ-follower is to fight with anyone who does something unchristian, to declare war on culture, or to bad-mouth nonbelievers on Facebook. Those Christians fill in the blank this way: “You are the hand grenades of the world.” (Hand grenade Christians express God’s judgment without showing his compassion.)
Other Christians try to be tolerant of people’s views, ignore the big moral issues, and blend in with the world like chameleons. They would fill in the blank like this: “You are the sugar coating of the earth.” (Sugar coating Christians focus on expressing God’s compassion and ignore his judgment and justice.)
Jesus didn’t want us to be hand grenades or sugar coating. As God on Earth, he lived out his Father’s righteousness and compassion, and he wants us to do the same.
Jesus told us to be salt because salt is used to keep meat from rotting. In other words, our mission is to keep the world from rotting. He told us to be light because the world is full of darkness. Sometimes I’m shocked at things I see in the world, but why should the world shock me? When Jesus asked us to be salt and light, he implied that the world is in great need.
In telling us we need to be salt, Jesus warned that salt is useless if it has “lost its saltiness.” When salt gets diluted with sand, it can no longer be used as a preservative. For us to truly be salt in the world, we can’t be like the world.
In telling us we need to be light, Jesus said it doesn’t make sense to hide a light under a basket. So, we can’t be isolated. We have to walk the fine line of being “in the world, but not of the world.”
YOU are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Go keep the world from rotting. Be so different (in a good way) from those around you that they will see your good deeds (your light) and glorify God.