“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?” (Matthew 5:13a)
In Jesus' day, salt served as a preservative for meat. Salt did not prevent decay but delayed it. Salt gave the meat a longer shelf life, but it eventually had to be thrown away. Jesus says that as His ambassadors we are like a preservative that delays the decay of our world. But salt cannot delay the decay of meat if it remains in the saltshaker. Only when the salt leaves the confines of the shaker and penetrates the meat can it preserve it.
No ambassador worth their salt remains in the security of their country's embassy when they are in a foreign land. Sure, it's safer there. But for ambassadors to represent their leader's policies to others, they have to come in contact with other people – including those who may disagree with or misunderstand the ruler he or she is representing.
Jesus also said we were the "light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). It is no accident Jesus also used that phrase to refer to Himself: "I am the Light of the world" (John 8:12). Now the Christ has ascended into heaven, we are to function as His light – illuminating the way to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
But no light is useful if it remains hidden. Before light can dispel darkness, it has to come in contact with darkness. A few weeks ago, we lost power in our house. Fortunately, I had a flashlight in a kitchen drawer. But that flashlight was of no use to me as long as it remained in the drawer. It could not cut through the darkness until it confronted the darkness.
Elijah was salt and light to the nation of Israel, preserving and illuminating the truth of a living God when he confronted Ahab. Our calling and responsibility are the same. By our words and actions, ambassadors of Christ must preserve the truth, cause others to thirst for God, and illuminate the way to God through faith in Christ.
Robert Jeffress appears this Monday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Choosing the Extraordinary Life by Dr. Robert Jeffress. Copyright © 2018 by Robert Jeffress. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Used by permission.