Stories of Salt and Light

Jesus says, you are the salt of the earth[1]. You are the light of the world! He said this to the disciples sitting around him and he said it to the people gathered to hear the Sermon on the Mount. He looked around at all the people and saw that they were tired, poor, hungry, and meek. He saw that they hungered to know God and he saw that they were peacemakers. So, he blessed them, and then he encouraged them to be a blessing. We are the people who follow Jesus. We have a purpose. Jesus is speaking to us. You are the salt of the earth. You and I are the light of the world.

Maybe you have a reason why you don’t think Jesus could be saying that YOU are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You may read this and think, “David is our minister. He is supposed to say things like that.” We seem to have trouble accepting that Jesus is speaking about each and every one of us in these verses.

I’ll be preaching about this reading on Sunday, but I need your help. I’d like us to try an exercise together that may help us hear Jesus’ words as personal blessing and sending. This will be sort of like the Lazarus $1.00 Project last summer in which I invited you to take $1 and find a way to make a difference in someone else’s life. This week, I invite you to share a story about a time when God worked through you to help someone else. The stories we heard from the Lazarus project are a great example of what I am looking for here. People took the $1 as a challenge to see the needs of others and then do something to help. We heard of a meal purchased for a homeless man. We heard of people who took the $1 and added money of their own because they saw a real need that they could do something about.

You have helped a friend. You have comforted someone you love that is suffering. You have helped strangers. Maybe you saw someone trying to push his car out of an intersection and you went to help. Maybe you were a reading tutor or a mentor to a young person. Maybe you did something big, like volunteering your time or contributing to a cause you believe in. Or perhaps you did something more modest, like buying a Fair Change newspaper from the lady outside the grocery store or visiting someone who is lonely.

The challenge is to come up with one story where you did something to help someone else. Then, tell me how God worked through you in that story. If you just can’t bring yourself to tell a story about God working through you, try starting with a story about God working through someone you know. You can share your stories with me by posting a comment at my blog (see link below) or you can send me an email, or you could send me a note in the mail.

Your brother in Christ,

The Rev. David Marshall


[1] I am once again indebted to David Lose for his inspiring reflections on this week’s Gospel. http://www.workingpreacher.org/dear_wp.aspx?article_id=451

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2 Responses to “Stories of Salt and Light”

  1. Karen Tynes Says:

    David, the Care Teams at my former church provided so many opportunities!

    drove folks to doctor appointments
    stayed with them overnight at the hospital after surgery
    fed their animals while they were in hospital
    took “emergency” pampers to a young out of work mother
    took cat littler to woman with a debilitating mystery illness
    took a meal to someone who lost a loved one
    and the list goes on!

    Strangely enough, I got to meet and know folks for the first time, who became friends I still cherish. Not sure who was really on the receiving end!

  2. Mary E. Pacher Says:

    I am reminded of a time when I discovered one of my second grade students was homeless and living in a car with her mother and little brother. I brought the staff together and shared the situation. There was immediate help from everyone, from bringing clothes, food, books and toys to the little family. One of our father’s managed an apartment building in Lynnwood and offered the family three months free rent so that they would have time to get on their feet. The story has a happy ending, with the mother getting employment, and the children knowing they were loved and cared about. It’s amazing what God’s people can do to help others.

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