In part one, I wrote about Jesus’ pep talk before He launched into what would become His divine blueprint for life. The Sermon On the Mount, as it’s come to be known, is a concise outline of Jesus’ lifestyle. Matthew chapters 5-7 show us what it means to follow Jesus.
Having given the spectrum of spirituality and declared us all to be blessed, Jesus then gave us a singular focus for navigating difficult and chaotic seasons of life. He said this:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the 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.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Jesus reminds us of our identity, then He gives us a practice to stay focused through life’s craziness.
By comparing us to salt and light, Jesus tells everyone in His crowd that they have great value to the people around them. They are packed with potential! This was a revolutionary teaching for a crowd of commoners! In Jesus’ time, your worth was essentially established by what family you landed into. You were born with potential or you were born to a meaningless existence. Jesus levels the playing field. “You ALL have such great value! You all have tremendous potential to do great things for God!” This was probably the first time many in the audience had ever had anyone look at them and say something that gave unconditional meaning to their life!
Before He outlines His blueprint for living, Jesus first announces to the people that they have immeasurable value and potential! Perhaps that’s the starting place for you right now. In seasons like 2020 where so much feels out of our control and there is lots of uncertainty, sometimes it helps to just center your brain around God’s affirmations of your worth. You are salt; one of the most valuable substances of Jesus’ day! It was used as a food preservative, for flavor, as a disinfectant, and more. You’ve heard the phrase, “worth his salt”. Salt was valuable and useful. Also, we cannot live without light! Jesus also compares you to life-giving light. You are salt and light. No matter who you are, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, Jesus affirms your value. Don’t lose sight of your worth just because things are chaotic.
Jesus first affirms our worth, then He gives us a practice to focus on: Let your light shine so that people will see your good works and glorify God. What does that mean? Jesus is about to lay out a lifestyle; He gets specific. We’ll see that in the coming weeks through the rest of the Sermon On the Mount. He tells us what a life looks like that will honor God and bring out our best self. The Word of God is clear. You have great potential within you. You were designed to live a meaningful life, to be used by God, and to help others in significant ways. No matter who you are or have been up to now.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared in advance for us to do.” This was not just written for the stained-glass window saints. This was written to everybody. The Apostle Paul writes those words for you today. Jesus calls you salt and light. Jesus says that you can let your light shine for others to see God in you. Paul says God has things for ONLY YOU to accomplish for Him. He thought of those things as you were being formed in the womb. This is your irrevocable identity!
This is your identity. This is your worth. This is your potential.
As we face the uncertainties and chaos of the world around us. As people struggle to find their identity and meaning. You have your blueprint. You know your worth and your calling. You heard it straight from God! Live from that starting point.