Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 5:13-20
We are the salt and light of the world. That is the new name that Jesus gave us. In the biblical tradition, name actually means our characters or even destinies. So, Abram’s name was changed into Abraham (father of the multitude). Jacob (one who grabs other’s heels) was changed into Israel (One who wrestled with God) after he had struggle with God at the Jabbok River.
So, we have a new name! What does that mean, though? First think about salt. Salt can make the foods delicious and preserve them. However, to do its job, salt should be melted and invisible. So, there are people in our church who work for God and still are not visible. For example, Sunday School teachers are now teaching our children and grand children but are not visible. Those who prepare the Holy Communion and make the banners are usually not visible. There are so many people who have given their time, money, and talents to our church for the ministry of God’s Kingdom without names known. They are still important people. They preserve our church to stay healthy and make our church ministry tasty(!). Let us name those salty people among us!
However, we are the light of the world also. Light should be visible. Jesus said, “A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp 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 in heaven.” I used underlines to emphasize two points. We have to show what we are doing not to show off but to give glory to God! For example, pastors, worship leaders, music ministers and choir members are always visible. What is required for us is humble attitude as God’s servants.
As the light of the world, we have to be aware of the fact that the world is watching us. The world is expecting us to be good examples. So, Jesus said that our righteousness should exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. They keep the commandments of the law out of fear but we keep them out of love for our Father! They keep the laws because they have to but we keep them because we want to.
Even though our salvation is given freely, our lives are not cheap. God’s grace deserves our response of gratitude and commitment. It should be more than just keeping the laws, giving tithe, coming to church on Sundays and serving in committees. May God bless all of us when we claim to be salt and light to the world!
1. What would be the mission and ministry that you can do as the salt of the earth?
2. What would be the mission and ministry that you can do as the light of the earth?