Salt and Light
SHAKE THE SALT. Shine the light. You know what I’m describing? Lifestyle evangelism, summarized in this sermon from Jesus. I’m not talking about giving a really “Christian” Christmas card to a neighbor you haven’t talked with for two years. That likely won’t accomplish anything. I’m talking about being salt and light in the world.
How do you go about this? Here are four simple suggestions:
First, live right and start praying. These two go together. Each of us lives in a neighborhood or a community. Each of us works or lives around people who are lost. Each of us is engaged in activities alongside lost people. Live right and start praying. When you pray, think outside the box. You’re not just praying for another person. You’re praying that you will have the opportunity to strike a match where there’s only darkness or to shake some salt on a life that has become bland.
Second, care about and reach out. Start simply by being friendly. You might practice smiling regularly. People are drawn to those who smile. It is amazing! I’ve had the most fantastic conversations in grocery stores that have started just because I’m smiling. One day I had a lady ask me, “What have you done?”
I said, “I’ve done a lot of things.”
She said, “No, I mean today. I mean, like, right now. Why are you smiling like that?”
“It’s just the way I am,” I answered.
She wanted to know how I could possibly be so happy. At that moment, I could have pulled her aside because of the smile and talked to her directly about things that matter. I did not have the opportunity at that moment, but there’s still a lesson in this. People will wonder how we can be happy in this difficult world. Then that will give us the opportunity to tell them that Jesus makes us smile. Jesus gives us a reason to be happy. Jesus makes life not just worth surviving but worth living.
Third, be available and listen. Listen, for a change. Don’t do all the talking. When you’re available—when people know you will listen—they will tell you their needs, their worries, their concerns. They will share their hearts with you. Care enough to enter into where they are. Laugh with them, cry with them, sigh with them. Tell them you care. You may not have the answers and you may not be able to solve their problems, but you can do a lot for people just by being available and listening.
Fourth, share your faith openly and follow through. Be ready. When the opportunity is right, when you sense that the Spirit is guiding you to share your faith, don’t hold back. As Peter says, “If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it” (1 Pet. 3:15).
When you’re willing to be salt and light in the world, you cultivate in people an appetite for God—or at least a curiosity. You become a phenomenon to them because you live in the same world they do yet live with a totally different attitude. It makes them wonder what gives you that kind of joy. Trust me—people will ask, and they will listen. Be ready to tell them the answer: It’s the Good News about Jesus Christ.