Mat 5:13-15 GW "You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. (14) "You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. (15) No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house.
We are working people. Pundits aside, our workplace or for student, our school-place, our preparation for the workplace, are where we spend the majority of our time. When Jesus says “YOU are the salt of the earth,” his words are not being directed at the apostles or todays clergy. These words are part of the most important sermon ever preached, what we call the sermon on the mount, and they were preached to the people, to us all.
No, these words of Jesus are not simply about our relationships in the workplace or school-place, but all of life. And if most of our time is in these places, then Jesus words certainly apply. The great things about these words of Jesus is that the word-pictures he uses don’t need much interpretation.
If we are to be the salt of the earth, then we are called to add flavor. Salt served as both season and preservative. As followers of Jesus, he apparently intends our lives to be ones which add something to this world to make it special and preserve those lives we touch. The word Christian literally means “little Christs.” Jesus doesn’t want us looking to others to make a difference in our places of work and school BUT for us to be the flavor - the little Christs. “We are the one we have been waiting for.”
But Jesus doesn’t stop there - no, he says we are to be the light on a hill - a lamp stand - illuminating the countryside or the house. I remember being in Kansas on a pheasant hunt and standing out at night. There was nothing but stars - in Kansas, there isn’t much of anything! Compare that to here where the lights of Atlanta illuminate our night - the light never goes out. Like the wise men who followed the star, we can literally make our way back home by the light on the hill.
When we begin to change our perspective, our view of work or school as a burden to a place where relationships are really the priority, and especially our relationship with God is foremost, we have a chance to be salt for seasoning and light for dark times. While not always easy, God does not intend our work or our school to be places that are meaningless but meaningful.
First, meaning can start by realizing that relationships in the workplace and school-place will change if we include God in these affairs. The wisdom writer of Proverbs notes:
Proverbs 16:1-3 GNB We may make our plans, but God has the last word. (2) You may think everything you do is right, but the LORD judges your motives. (3) Ask the LORD to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out. Stop planning your life out, then asking God to bless it. Start first with recognizing and placing God in the top spot.
The second practice is one that applies to you who are students but I’m sure it isn’t missed on all of us with more experience. For centuries, students were apprentices. You committed to learn a trade. Your school work today is that of an apprenticeship. Proverbs 22:29 GNB Show me someone who does a good job, and I will show you someone who is better than most and worthy of the company of kings. It wouldn’t surprise me if these were the very words of King Solomon. A wise king would know! So does a wise teacher, manager or CEO. You may not always like the job, but how well you do it makes a difference in those relationships.
The third observation of the wisdom writer of Proverbs notes In hard work there is always something gained, but idle talk leads only to poverty. (Pro 14:23 GW). This isn’t a condemnation of the poor. In fact, Proverbs, there is a real sense of justice for those who are in poverty outside of their actions. Instead, the writer points out, I think, a sign of what integrity brings. The writer of Proverbs is an observer of humanity and relationships.
Brother Lawrence got kitchen duty at his monastery. In his work, the lessons learned and his humility in relationships, he became a renowned Christian teacher and his little book, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” has influenced Christians for centuries now.
How we add flavor or shine the light of Jesus in our work or in our school is as transformational to our souls as it is to our success. Remembering whose we are in our relationships in our work and school matters - this is at the heart of sharing the Gospel, of letting others know about the good news of Jesus Christ. If it isn’t seen in our work and our study - some will never even consdier who we really work for. Wouldn’t you like to give others a reason to ask?