Salt and Light

Jesus told his followers they were to be like ‘salt and light’.

And he did not add ‘until you retire’.

Indeed, when the time comes that we are ‘after work’, there are even more opportunities to live out what Jesus had in mind.

Speaking to his followers, Jesus put it this way:

‘You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? . . . You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. 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 everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’ (Matthew 5.13-16)

Jesus’ words are not a suggestion but an expectation. So, at this stage of life, just how tasty and bright are we?

The move away from regular paid work brings a fresh challenge to take this call to be salt and light seriously in our new environment. Of course it is good to enjoy well-earned relaxation after a lifetime of work. But now is not the time to lose our flavour or hide our lamp.

Instead, we have the potential to flavour the lives of others and hold up a light that shows the way. And so make a Christian difference; in our family, our church and our community.

  • What being ‘salt and light’ looks like

    Salt: This little white stuff is amazing. It not only adds flavour to food but has great properties of healing and preserving. In the same way, Jesus says our lives should have an influence that enriches those around us and makes life better, richer and more wholesome.

    Light: Illumination is essential to reveal to people what needs to be seen. But in Jesus’ day it was more important than that. A cluster of lights from houses on a hill showed travellers where they could find shelter, safety and hospitality.

    One Bible translation expresses Jesus’ words like this, ‘You are to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. It shines out with hope’. The Message.

  • How can we be salt and light?

    In practical terms, we need to discover ways for this to become a reality in our after-work life. It means taking the salt out of the packet and putting the light where it is needed. But how?

    Being: In the same way that salt imparts seasoning, Christians can enrich the lives of the world around them just by being part of it showing God’s love in the way they live.

    In the same way that light puts darkness to flight, so we can be a living example of a better way to live. By ‘being there’ and living Jesus’ way, we can humbly help people to see a better way to live.

    Speaking: There will be situations when living right is not enough. Words of explanation may be needed – usually in answer to a question provoked by the quality of the life you are trying to lead.

    At other times, your voice will be one of wisdom, or love, or compassion – bringing seasoning and light to those round you or those you reach out to.

    Serving: Jesus words could not be clearer – that the outcome of his followers being salt and light would be that their ‘deeds shine out for all to see, so everyone will praise your heavenly Father’.

    In other words, being salt and light involves action that is seen to be ‘good’ and causes others to see our God as great. That offers those who are retired and active an inexhaustible set of opportunities.

    Some will be in our own personal day to day lives. Others will involve taking action to make it happen. This includes –

    Through your church – from being a Street Pastor to running a food bank. From offering debt counselling to helping with a night shelter during the cold winter months. And more.

    Your community – from volunteering in a local charity shop to becoming a local counsellor. From visiting those who are lonely to buddying with an adult with learning disabilities. And more.

    Overseas – from short-term volunteering to raising funds for those in poverty. From praying regularly for a missionary, with specific requests  to sending out some home comforts – proper British chocolate or board games for families to enjoy . And more.

    These are just a few examples of being salt and light that are waiting for you to explore them. The opportunities are endless – and far too good to miss.

Have you found a way to be salt and light in your after-work life? Please share it with us on our Facebook group. And don’t forget toSign Up to our blog.

The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife