“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.”
One day my publisher sent me a letter asking me for a list of “influencers” in my world. I had never heard anyone call anyone an “Influencer.” So I wrote the publicist and asked what an “influencer” was and she said it this, “Big mouths. When these people speak, others listen.” Now I had heard of “big mouths” but I wasn’t quite ready to see that as a good group … until she explained more. Influencers are people who lead. When they speak or exhibit a behavior or buy a product, others follow. Think of people like Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin, or think of Billy Graham or Bill Hybels or Rick Warren. So I sent her a list, and she wrote back, “I didn’t ask for your friends, I asked for influencers.” So I went to work again.
Here’s an amazing instruction by Jesus. Jesus believes each and every one of us is an influencer. Not just pastors and leaders, but each of us. Preachers and Bible readers are agreed on one thing about “salt” and “light” in our passage: they might mean any number of things, but the one thing they do mean is that salt influences meat and light influences darkness. They make an impact. But there’s more here: Jesus doesn’t urge us to become influencers. He says each disciple, by virtue of being a follower of Jesus, already is an influencer. His concern is not becoming an influence but ruining our existing influence. He doesn’t want our “salt” to become “unsalty.” (What is chemically impossible is morally possible.) He doesn’t want our light to be covered up (by refusing to witness to Jesus Christ).
Another way of looking at this: Jesus wants us to be more influential by faithfully being who we are and by faithfully doing what we are called to do: follow Jesus, show love to our neighbor as we would to ourselves, and serve others out of the grace we have been shown by God. If we pick weeds from our garden daily, if we water our flowers daily, our garden flourishes; if we pick weeds once and water once, our garden dies. So, too, if we read the Bible daily, if we pray daily, if we love daily … if we are faithful over time our influence may increase.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Ponder where you have an influence. What kind of influence do you have and can you have? How does the call to a steady faithfulness prompt you to see a long-term deepening influence? Where could you learn to have “more” influence?
PRAYER: Our Father, stop me in my tracks today and reveal where I am an influence. Reveal where the “more” is less than it should be. Reveal how the “more” can become a reality.
I accept the incredible grace of being salt and light, however the influence is understood, and know that you have called me to extend the kingdom work of your Son into our world by being what you want me to be and doing what you want me to do. What a privilege to be captured into and for the kingdom!
In your mercy awaken me and sharpen me as your instrument of love, justice, peace, wisdom and grace. In your mercy, hear this prayer, through Christ our Lord, Amen.