Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On Being Salt and Light

I decided to go through the Red Letter Bible for my devotion for the next couple of months. For today, my reading was Matthew 5:13-16. The Salt and Light passage.

I was thinking through what salt is and what light is, yea know, the meaning and all that:

Salt is for flavour. Salt is for preservation of food. Salt was commodity in ancient times. It was use for trade.
Light is ... well light. What does light do? It illuminates (duh!) It reveals where darkness conceals. It shows where darkness hides.

Here's the "upper-cut" : Every weekday morning, I would listen to the on-line edition of Focus on the Family's daily radio broadcast. Today was going to be no different, except that I realize that I had listen to the broadcast yesterday. so I randomly selected another day's broadcast to listen to. Lo and behold, the featured speaker Tony Evans touched on "Salt and Light"

Well that's the good old "one-two" from God. So the question is still how am I to be salt and light?

A lot of times salt in this passage has been taken to be the preservative. That we as believer and followers of God are to preserve the moral climate and atmosphere of our culture. Light gets to mean that we have to shine in this dark world. It would follow on that this is done by focusing on our character and building our character to stand out in this world and dark age. Character First!! This often than not drives us to a perfection(ism) mode. Which leads to a holier-than-thou and I'm-not good-enough frame of thought.

I don't want to put this teaching down but I have come to think that being salt and light is more than just character. The end result is:
16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
People have to see "your good deeds" meaning that it's not just about being "good" (good character) but doing good (good deeds). In fact, it may have nothing to do with being good but more about doing good.

People glorify Father in heaven because of the good you do. Being a goody-two-shoes may and most like serve to solicit a response of resentment if not hate as people feel prejudiced, put down or shamed. (Read: made aware of their own shortcomings and feeling bad about it)

Being salt of the earth and light of the world is about adding flavour and illumination so that others will taste and see and the LORD is good!

to be continued ...