Driving to work one day this past week I turned on the radio to hear the end of a teaching on Matthew 5 when Jesus directed followers to be "salt and light". The previous night's weather forecast was typical for January in Ohio - snow flurries and cold.
When those two broadcasts collided in my brain that morning, I felt the Holy Spirit indicate to me a different point about Jesus' teaching. Typically we think of the salt reference to apply to salt as seasoning. In fact, the Message Bible translates it this way: "You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth."
My mind was thinking more about the cold January days ahead and I realized that I was using salt to thaw the ice on my sidewalks, like the highway department uses it to thaw the roadways. Snow and ice make walking and driving dangerous this time of year. Ice can cause you to slip, fall, and hurt yourself. Salt on your path makes it safer and helps to keep you from falling as you move along your way.
This, to me, is another role for us as "salt" to the world. By representing the love Jesus demonstrates toward us to those around us, we can dissolve the slippery spots in others' paths and lives. When we are examples of Jesus, we are salt. We can lead others to share in Christ's love and gain the tools to help avoid the slips and falls of life.
Also, we are told to be light. Jesus is the Light and we should reflect that light to others. So many folks are walking through life in what amounts to total darkness to the Truth of God's love. When we walk into a dark room in the middle of the night we are more apt to run into the coffee table or trip over a pet's toy. We could do ourselves physical harm.
When we have even the smallest of flashlights we can see those obstacles and save our shin bones from connecting with that table. If we are "light" to those around us, through our "love-walk" with Jesus, we can help keep others from stumbling or falling over those unseen obstacles in their paths. It doesn't take a "faith giant" to accomplish this. Even the tiniest of lights, in total darkness, can keep someone from stumbling.
So let us fulfill Jesus' desire for us to be salt and light. we can melt even the most hardened, iced-over hearts, and we can light the way for those in darkness. It really is easy - just love, as Jesus commanded, "your [every] neighbor as yourself."