Prepare to Listen. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 5:13-16
13‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.’
You are salt and light, not you must be or you have. You are. There’s nothing you can do about it. As Bonhoeffer writes, “It is not for the disciples to decide whether they will be the salt of the earth, [the light of the world] for they are so whether they like it or not, they have been made salt [and light] by the call they have received.”
This means that Jesus’ disciples are men and women who can influence the world. This is amazing, begging the question: “What possible influence could the people described in the beatitudes exert in this hard, tough world?” What can the poor in spirit, or the meek, or persecuted, possibly do to influence a world that sees them as too feeble and poor to achieve anything significant?
Jesus disagrees. We, he says, are the ones with power to influence the world for good. But, as he warns, we must maintain our saltiness and display our light. This warning should alarm us. We could lose our ability to influence the world for good if we allow ourselves to be conformed to the ways of the world. And let’s face it, it’s tempting to seek power through wealth and politics. We spend time and money promoting and demanding that our ideas of right and wrong be upheld. As a result, our salt becomes contaminated and we’re in danger of being “thrown out and trampled under foot.”
Is the world experiencing us, the church and individuals as salt and light?
“Where does the world need salt and light right now, and how can we, through following Jesus, provide it?”
Respond in Prayer
Give me the grace and courage to be what you made me—salt and light to influence a world in great need. Amen.
Live Obediently. Be what you are: salt and light in the world.
 Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. New York, NY: The Macmillan Company. 1978, p. 105.
 Stott, John R. W. Christian Counter Culture: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 1978, p. 57.
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Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.