You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? ... You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.1
The Christian’s task is to be the salt of society, preserving, reconciling, adding taste, giving meaning where there is no meaning, giving hope where there is no hope. It is about the quality of life. It is interesting that when the early Christians were persecuted in the Roman Empire, the Christian Apologists pleaded for tolerance saying that society continued to exist because of Christians. What they were saying was that Christians upheld the good values in life, they worked for reconciliation and peace, and they prayed for the empire and its well being.
To be the salt of society means that we are deeply concerned with its well being. We preserve cultural values and moral principles and make a contribution to the development of cultural and social life. We add taste and flavor to the common life. Because there are Christians in a city or in a village, its people should be able to praise God for the harmony and fellowship, joy and happiness which Christians bring to the common life.2
Wow, that is quite a statement! If there is a Christian around, there should be evidence of harmony, joy and other positive elements that so improve the quality of life that people will want to praise God! Do you think those around us feel that? It almost makes me laugh typing that as it's hard to describe my own life like that at times, never mind the poor souls living next to me. Seems like a tall order to fill! But we are encouraged when we realize we don't need to fill any orders as Christ is the one who fills us. It is Him whom we reflect. Both salt and light themselves are colorless or invisible. Is that how we are to become in order to make a difference in the world?
It seems to point to one thing: if you want to do any good in the world you will have to be willing to disappear! Everyone complains about politicians who only do things in order to be seen and to scoop up votes. But the complaint is valid against anyone at all, not only politicians! “I am the light of the world,” he said; but also “You are the light of the world”. “Let your light shine before others, so that seeing your good works they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.” That is the nature of light: to make others shine. It is the nature of God, John says.3
I certainly don't feel as if I have the answers on how to become a world-changer. I guess my point would be that in and of ourselves, it is impossible to have an impact on the world because it is God and only God who creates and changes worlds - individually and astronomically. Only God in us brings about His kingdom on earth as long as we are willing to simply be used. How countercultural is that?
Let me know your thoughts,
1 Matthew 5:13-16
2 From http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1528
3 From http://www.goodnews.ie/jacobswellheer.htm