Be Salt and Light

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

How are you going to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” today? Jesus expected his disciples—that’s us now—to do what he said.

Salt preserves food and keeps it safe; it also brings out flavors. Light shines, illumines, and shows the way.

Here’s how Amy Sparkman was able to do this when she was 17, a senior in high school:

One year, I had a teacher who never smiled. He always seemed grumpy. My locker was right next to his classroom, so every time I saw him, I smiled. I didn’t do it on purpose; I did it because I was happy, and smiling was natural. This teacher never smiled back. In fact, it felt like he glared at me!

Every so often, I wondered why I kept smiling at him. I thought maybe I should glare back. But it didn’t feel right, so I didn’t. On the very last day of school, he stopped me as I was packing up my locker and said, “I don’t know how you do it – smile all the time, that is – but I’ll miss it. It made my day every day.” I was astonished! And I was so glad I hadn’t dimmed my light.

It’s pretty amazing how a simple smile can make a difference—even if we think it’s useless. Sharing our goodness, which comes straight from God, is never useless. In fact, it may be the only light some people see. It may make all the difference in the world.

So here are some other ways that we can be light and salt.

  • Preserve our innate goodness and purity by doing the right or kind thing even when others are doing the exciting but wrong thing.
  • Be the friend you want to have. Express all those qualities that constitute true friendship.
  • Help others be their best selves by being our best selves. Encourage others when they need it and be kind to ourselves in the process.
  • Appreciate others rather than criticize their faults or gossip.
  • Use social media to bless others, to spread happiness, and refuse to engage in any social media that makes people look or feel bad or that ostracizes them in any way.
  • Decrease the time spent on screens to 2 hours a day or less, and spend face-to-face time with friends instead.

This last point is important because study after study is showing how too much screen time, which is over 2 hours a day (that includes smart phones, texting, and all forms of social media), is increasing teen depression and suicide at phenomenal rates.

Please, please be aware of this. Be the salt and preserve your own identity as well as real relationships. Be the light and show the way. You can be a leader in your peer group. It may be very difficult, but you can figure out how to put down the phone and increase genuine connection and lasting happiness. After all, isn’t true connection, acceptance, and real joy what we’re all after? The phone or screen is not going to give us those. But following Jesus’ teachings will. Jesus expects us to lead the way:

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors 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. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (The Message Matt 5:13-16)

Enjoy being salt and shining your God-given light!