Richard Whitaker- Discipleship and Connections Pastor LHBC

Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV) Matthew 5:13-16

Cheryl and I recently experienced uncommon hospitality at a local restaurant when the host approached us and said “Welcome to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.”  Wendel’s posture, smile, and positive demeanor took over that welcome station in a way that made us feel special.  Jesus has something to say about people like Wendel.  According to Jesus, Wendel is a salty person and you know why? Because we can’t help but wonder what he’s got on the inside that makes him so awesome on the outside!

As disciples of Jesus, we make people thirsty to know more about Christ by living salty lives.   Our saltiness is what makes people who are far away from God thirsty to know the reason for the hope we have in Christ.   Do you know the interesting thing about being a salty disciple?  We can actually lose our saltiness.  And, Jesus says that losing our saltiness makes us useless to his kingdom. Ouch!  

How do we stay salty?  We stay salty by serving.  When we stop serving we’re no longer savory to a world that needs seasoning with God’s love.  Jesus says that our job is to live the salt life during our time on earth!  We want to be for Jesus as salty to our neighbors as Gulf coast seawater is to beachgoers because being salty for Jesus is what God’s kingdom is about.

As disciples of Jesus, we also shine a light that illuminates the way to transformation by Jesus.  We might say, “Well, I don’t feel all that shiny.”   Shining is difficult when we hide our lights beneath a packed schedule, material pursuits, political flag waving, and raging posts on social media.  We can’t light the way when our minds are divided and cloaked in darkness.   Jesus is saying that we must remove the smoke screen of distractions that make it hard for people to see Jesus in us.

Practically speaking, how do we receive Jesus’ instruction on salt, light, and bushels and let it change us?  In other words, how can we get this command from the pages of our Bibles into our lives so that we obey Jesus and make a difference for his coming kingdom?  I have good news for you.  There’s a way to really be salt and light to our neighbors and friends.

Removing our lights from under bushels of darkness starts with new life rhythms that alert people to God’s kingdom presence in our lives.   Rhythms where generosity and hospitality tangibly intersect with our neighbors in such a way that raises this question in their minds,  “Who are you and what do you have?”  

And you know what? This is the kind of life that the Apostle Paul teaches the church at Colossae to copy when he writes, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (ESV) Colossians 4:5-6.   Our best use of time always includes specific ways of engaging the people around us who don’t yet know Jesus.  

Thinking about Mr. Wendel, you know what else happens when he lives salty and shines his light?  He brings glory to his earthly employer and teammates and most of all he brings glory to Jesus.  I can just see Jesus welcoming Wendel into that heavenly kingdom now!  When we live salty and our lights shine bright on Jesus, we bring glory to Jesus and that result will make a difference to our neighbors for all of eternity.

Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me to stay salty and shine bright for you.  Empower me to love unconditionally, serve selflessly, and forgive endlessly just like you do for me.  May the salt and light that you produce in me make a difference on earth that echoes into eternity. Amen.

For simple ways to implement salty life rhythms, check out “Surprise the World!: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People” by Michael Frost

John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.