You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the worldlike a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:13-16
At first glance, “salt” and “light” would seem to have nothing in common but in Jesus’ day they were both critical to life. As the source for preserving food, people no longer had to depend on the daily availability of food – they could travel long distances, carrying food with them that would not spoil. They discovered new lands, people, cultures and resources – so it literally changed the economy of civilization.
A light source was also imperative to survival; not only evil lurked in the darkness, but real physical dangers that could easily bring death wild animals, thieves, falls resulting in fatal injuries or infection. These everyday realities were well understood by the people, and Jesus conveyed the importance of His followers to the kingdom through His clear and simple analogies.
Christians of today need to understand that we too are still critical to the world.