“SALT AND LIGHT: HOW DO WE GO ABOUT IT?” 29.01.19
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
Believers are all too familiar with the instructions to be salt and light, but are not necessarily clear on how to walk that out.
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Often, we are not sure how to proceed. We hear these words repeatedly; but we’re not sure what that looks like in real time.” Let’s take a few examples from Scripture and see how they may be translated into present-day experience.
When Yeshua walked the cobble-stoned streets, and dirt roads, He didn’t necessarily go out of His way to find any particular type of person or situation; however, He never passed up an opportunity to minister to any individual, group, or situation He may have encountered.
We know that He was the greatest teacher ever, and never missed an opportunity to teach about the Kingdom of God/Heaven. Not everyone is gifted in teaching; however, we are all capable of doing as Peter instructed: “Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,” (1 Pet.3:15), just as Yeshua did when Nicodemus approached Him: “Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I said to you, ‘You all must be born from above’” (John 3:3,6,7). There is no reason for any believer to not respond accordingly. It is not necessary to have an official ministry to respond to any inquiry, even the slightest open door, and offer salvation to sinners through God’s Word.
Notice how effectively Yeshua zeroed in on the woman at the well, by approaching her to give Him a drink of water. First, He cleverly engaged her in conversation, then He moved in on an opportunity to “speak the truth, in love” (Eph.4:15), declaring prophetic words that had meaning for her, words she could not ignore, because He’d identified truths about her life that could not be known except from a supernatural source. He used this as an opportunity to minister about the Kingdom of God, saying: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. . . . . Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty. The water that I give him will become a fountain of water within him, springing up to eternal life!” (John 4:10,13,14). We who know the truth can all minister in this same way to anyone. We need to use our gifts – whether prophetic words, words of wisdom or knowledge, teaching, healing, edification, encouragement, compassion, etc. – to minister to people as opportunities arise. We may not be Yeshua, but we can certainly direct them to Him. That is shining His light through us; that is sprinkling salt on the earth.
“Yeshua summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, so they could drive them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness . . . . proclaim, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near!’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with tzara’at (leprosy), drive out demons. Freely you received, freely give” (Matt.10:1,7,8). It’s pretty clear what our mandate is. When we see what needs doing we need to step up to the plate, and just do it. Yeshua didn’t necessarily seek out people who needed healing, deliverance, etc. He met each situation, individual, or people group where they were at, and performed whatever was called for spontaneously. Nothing He did was ever planned, programmed, or scheduled in; it just happened when it happened. We would do well to respond to situations and individuals as the need arises, rather than attempting to schedule events, devise ministries, and programs.
When Yeshua saw the man waiting to get into the pool of Bethesda, He asked Him if he needed help, if He wanted to be healed. Many times we encounter individuals who are obviously hurting, troubled, or experiencing some form of difficulty, whether, physically or emotionally. We can shine His Light; we can be the salt, by offering to pray for them.
We can be salt and light when instead of hating someone who has been offensive towards us, we show them loving kindness and compassion: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt.5:44,45). When someone offends us, instead of being offended, and retaliating, we can bless them, and pray for their hearts to be convicted, and softened. This is not the same as accepting abuse. It is a seasoned choice, based on discernment, and a leading of the Spirit. “Turning the other cheek” is not about wrongfully submitting to demonic, outright abusive, inappropriate behaviour. We are not called to condone or accept demonic attacks against us. I need to be clear about this, so there is no misinterpretation of what is said here. Luke 10:9-11, gives a clear picture that, even in the face of being instructed to “heal the sick in that town, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (v.9), there are boundaries of tolerance: “But if you enter a town and they do not welcome you, then go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town sticking to our feet, we wipe off as a witness to you. But know this! The kingdom of God has come near’” (v.10,11).
Contrary to some teachings, Yeshua did not not particularly seek out prostitutes, adulterers, harlots, etc.; however, when He encountered these situations, He used them as opportunities to bring deliverance and freedom. Although the Scriptures do not provide the actual occasions, there are references, such as in Luke 8:2, indicating that Yeshua performed deliverance ministry with such individuals, as needed: “And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Miriam, the one called Magdalene, out of whom seven demons had gone” (Lk.8:2).
Zacchaeus was hiding up in a tree, attempting to observe what was going on, not particularly interested in being noticed. But when Yeshua spied him, He welcomed the opportunity to turn a sinner’s life around: “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus hurried and came down and welcomed Him joyfully” (Lk.19:5,6), after which Zacchaeus must obviously have been convicted, and repented for he “said to the Lord. “Look, Master, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have somehow cheated anyone, I repay four times as much!” Then Yeshua said to him, “Today salvation has come to this home, because he also is a son of Abraham” (Lk.19:9,10).
Let us learn to respond spontaneously, as Yeshua did, that when opportunities arise – when doors/windows open to us, we would walk through them, step up to the plate, so to speak, and take advantage of situations placed before us. We need not have special training. We need only be armed and equipped with the Word of God/Sword of the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit daily, so we will always be ready for whatever may present itself to us. Giving of self, time, acts of kindness, go a long way towards expressions of salt and light; and when they are done by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the Name of Yeshua/Jesus, they will release His Light and season as with Salt. Giving of self, time, acts of kindness, go a long way towards expressions of salt and light; and when they are done by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the Name of Yeshua/Jesus, they will release His Light and His special Seasoning.
© 2018, revised 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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