From Eugene Peterson’s “The Message”
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Salt brings out the natural flavor of a food. It enhances what is already there. Jesus used the idea of salt losing it’s salty-ness…but there’s also an opposite application as I contemplate this. Ever have food with too much salt on it? No good, right? Why? Because the salt overwhelms the natural flavor…all you can taste is salt. The flavor is God…God’s presence and grace evident on this fallen earth. If we put too much of our ministry, too much of our ingenuity in the mix…all the world will taste is the salt. Maybe our culture has been screwing up it’s face at Christianity lately because all they taste is salt…and not the wonderful God flavors we were supposed to be highlighting.
The same can be said for light. I’ve always heard this concept put negatively…that light illuminates what’s hidden in the darkness (which usually meant pointing out sin)…but when I read Peterson’s take on it, it gave me a fresh vision. Light enables us to see things in color…see things for what they really are. But, a light so bright and beaming straight into your eyes will only make you see spots and irritate you. God is the color we are supposed to put on display…but if we put too much emphasis on our clever programs or catchy phrases or slick presentations….maybe all this world gets is a blast in the eyes of our light.
The world will never make a place for Christianity…Jesus pretty much promised that. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t examine our methods to make sure we aren’t putting an artificial barrier between Jesus and those who may seek Him.