"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.” Matt. 5:13-16 (ESV)
We are called by Jesus to be salt and light – salting the earth with goodness and enlightening it with righteousness. But if salt has become tasteless, what then? What if our actions are meaningless, or so infrequent, that having salt is pointless? Worse, what if we ignore Jesus’ call, because we believe that this salt and light are NOT to be used at all?
Jesus spoke to challenge us and calls us today to be examples in his name. As God’s chosen Prophet and Spokesman, Jesus authoritatively calls us to take up his challenge and to follow his example.
Coming just after the powerful Sermon on the Mount in the Book of Matthew, this is a clear and unambiguous call for us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world – letting our light shine before others – and it is key to understanding that Jesus believes we are indeed capable of doing Good Works for Others in his name, and in fact are commanded to do so, if we claim to be his followers and wish to still call him “Master.”
If we’re given the gifts of salt – among them, the gifts of Jesus’ holy example and our God-given ability to choose righteousness over wickedness – and allow it to become stale, either by choosing to throw it on the ground to be trampled or to let this salt rot because we falsely believe we lack the ability to use it to do Good, then we have failed.
If we have the gifts of light – among them being Jesus’ teachings and our God-given ability of reason and knowledge – but decide that using them to serve Others is unnecessary, that Good Works are merely optional things we need never concern ourselves with – then we make the Good and Beneficial Message (Gospel) of Jesus into a mockery.