You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world.
The story is told that Edwin Stanton, secretary of war under Abraham Lincoln, saw a man at a reception and said, “Did you ever in all your life see the head of a human being which so closely resembled that of a cod-fish?”
An officer who was with him replied, “He is not responsible for his head or his face.”
“I deny your conclusions,” Stanton said. “A man of fifty is responsible for his face!”
I think of that comment whenever I am talking to Christians who look like they have been baptized in lemon juice. You know what I mean–they are always walking around with a sour, dour expression. Now, I am not suggesting every Christian ought to be giddy all the time. That is not realistic. But there needs to be an inner joy in our lives, a calm assurance that God is in control in spite of what is happening around us. That may not cause us to laugh all the time, but what is inside of us eventually shows up on the outside.
One secret for maintaining joy is to remember the purpose for which God has left you here on earth. What is that purpose? Why didn’t God rapture you to heaven the moment He saved you? We are going to discover the answer to that question in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus gave us some straight talk about our faith. He said, “You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14).
Let me point out three similarities in these metaphors. First of all, both are affirmative statements. Jesus did not say, “You are not an adulterer, a murderer, or a drunkard.” He said in the affirmative, “You are salt. You are light.”
Second, both metaphors emphasize individual responsibility. You–not somebody else–are salt and light in this world.
Finally, both metaphors are statements of fact, not commands. Jesus did not say, “You should be the salt of the earth,” or, “You ought to be the light of the world.” Jesus said you are salt and light. The question is what kind of salt are you? What kind of light are you?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Faith” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Edwin Stanton, as quoted in L. E. Chittenden, “Recollections of President Lincoln and His Administration” (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891), 184.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org