“Can you hear me now? Good.”
Most of us remember this iconic Verizon commercial. While the advertisement did it’s job by permanently implanting its phrase in our brains, it seems a bit ironic. A cellphone company that boasts on its service stating obviously in its commercial that it lost service at one point. Perhaps even the best service needs to check its connection.
In a world where we are more connected than ever via the internet, social media, TV, radio, and cell phones, we are growing increasingly out of touch with God and each other. We need to check our connection.
You are the salt of the earth. But if 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.
I believe this applies to our connection to God.
“You are the salt of the earth.” Wow! Jesus declared his disciples were the best of the best. When I think about the people I have referred to as the salt of the earth, they are people of integrity who embody goodness.
While these people are truly incredible humans, I don’t believe they became salt by their own doing. In Mark 10:18, Jesus himself said none is truly good but God. So these people that emanate goodness do so by a connection to God. In studying this passage, I read that in that day, to eat salt with someone was a sign of a bond of loyalty. His disciples being referred to as salt is a reflection of the bond we must have with Christ.
True salt never stops being salt. Our kingdom purposes persist despite our humanity.
I in no way am trying to contradict the words of Christ. Rather, I hope to clarify this passage further. I know I have been terrified at points in my life that if I am disobedient or take my eyes off of God for a moment that I will completely lose my purpose that God gave me. As a prodigal child, I now know this is untrue. Your sin doesn’t shock God. He knew you were going to do it before it was done. Nothing you personally do will off set God’s plan and purpose. You are not that powerful. God will never love you more than he does right now. He has already reached max capacity of love for you regardless of where you are in your walk with him.
I believe what Jesus meant when he referred to salt losing its saltiness is those people were never truly salt at all. We can try to wear the faith of our parents for only so long. We can go to church, say the right things, look the Christian way, and yet never truly have our hearts transformed. In each of our lives there is a turning point; a point in which we decide to go from a Christian like outside to a disciple of Christ inside or we decide to go our own way. We either connect to God or connect to the world. It is the testing of our salt.
True salt never stops being salty. Even when we think we fall so severely that we completely skew God’s plan for our life, if we maintain connection, he will always set us right back on track to His purpose. Check your connection: test your salt.
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 a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the room. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I think it is obvious this section of the Sermon on the Mount refers to our connection to others.
First Jesus had to clarify that we needed a connection to him. Now that we know that, we are now able to realize where our light comes from and share it with others. Our good deeds, our moral conduct, our brotherly love, our light is not of us. Rather it is the Holy Spirit manifesting himself through us to shine to others and give glory to God.
We get excited when God says all these great things about us. And we should! We are the salt of the earth! We are the light of the world! Whoo! Praise Jesus! But then he commissions us to share these gifts with the world. Our excitment dissipates and shifts to fear. We become concerned of what others will think if we proclaim this “Jesus thing.” We run the risk of losing friends, being talked about poorly, rejection from family, and even in some countries real persecution. This light of the world concept becomes less and less appealing.
We ration that could mind our own business. We could love Jesus yet not make any waves. We could read our bible, pray, maybe even go to church, when it’s convenient of course, and simply keep our faith to ourselves. You know, put our lamp under a bowl.
But you know what happens when you cut a flame off from air? It goes out. Jesus didn’t declare us lights to ourselves. He is our “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105) We are to be a reflection of him in this world: to shine that it might bring him glory. There is nothing glorious about hiding Jesus in our life.
Yes, the darkness hates the light. But take heart! Darkness cannot cast out light. Rather, even the smallest light can dispel the greatest darkness. God will not give you a weight you cannot carry. If he said go be a light to the world, have connection with others, proclaim me boldly, he will give you the strength to do so. I do not believe that you can truly study the word of God and dive deeper into your relationship with him and not have changes that are visible to others. In do that, we grow our connection to God which in turn will make our connection to other’s easier. Evaluate your connection; shine your light before men.
We by nature are built for connection: connection to God and connection to each other. Despite any fears we might have, in the depths of our heart we yearn for both these relationships. Yet because of fear and stubbornness we tend to fight both of these. Isn’t ironic how we tend to push away some if the best things for us? I challenge you two things. First, to test your salt. Is it true salt? Second, evaluate where your lamp is. Is it on a hilltop or hidden under a bowl?