We live in a very remote location and when it is dark here on our country hilltop, it is really dark. People who live in the city may not appreciate the genuine darkness of the country. We often have evening visitors who comment on how bright the stars look against the pitch black of the night sky. What I notice is not so much how bright the stars appear, but their abundance. The same number exists in the city but without the black of night, they are not seen.
In Matthew 5:13-14, Jesus is speaking to a large crowd of followers. He tells them they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He shares this against the darkness of the crowd that followed them and the struggles of their time. I think this was to encourage them not only about brightness or saltiness but about significance. Do you ever see yourself as light or salt? There are days when I question those in my own walk. My light ‘feels’ dull, lacking sufficient energy or direction. I question if there is enough to make a difference in dark places. What this scripture reminds me is that my light, even a small dim one, dispels darkness. I am always amazed as I drive up the long gravel road to our home that the lamp, left on for the dog, appears so bright from such a distance. From the light’s perspective, it may not be observable and I think this was Jesus’s point. The light is lest affected by its own light. It is best observed by those in darkness and often at a distance who are in need of it. So how I ‘feel’ about my light is of little importance because . . . wait for it . . . it’s not about me. My light is not for me, it’s for others to see and glorify God. I am not responsible for the location or illumination. I am light by virtue of the relationship to the Son and Father, the source of the light in me.
Jesus goes on to talk about light’s efficiency in mass when he gives the example of a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Think about the last time you traveled at night and observed the glow from the approaching city, large or small. Even a hamlet produces radiating light. It cannot be hidden. The darker the environment the more significant even the smallest light or the smallest group of lights. Finally, notice in verse 14, Jesus tells them that they can chose to put a lamp under a basket and hide the light, but he says almost rhetorically, that people just don’t have a light to hide it from sight. Notice that a choice has to be made when hiding a light and it is not God who does the hiding.
For those days when we are struggling with significance, purpose and belonging, even a tiny light alone dispels darkness. Remember our light is not FOR us. We are light by virtue of relationships with Jesus. Our light is for those who are in darkness. Our light not ABOUT us, but rather to bring glory to our Father in heaven.
Let your light shine before men so that they may see…and glorify your Father in heaven. Don’t trust how you feel, stand on the truth of salt and light.