November 13, 2006

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16

"You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world."


I will always remember. I was a young boy about 6 years old. It was the winter of 1944, and the people of Holland were suffering under Nazi occupation. This was known as the "hunger winter" in the Netherlands. Thousands of people died for lack of food.

My dad was a minister in a small town. One of the customs of that day was that part of the minister's salary was supplied by goods and services instead of money. When someone had extra produce, the pastor's family would receive it; and when a farmer killed a pig or a cow, the pastor would receive some of the meat.

One night during that terrible winter, we heard a bang at the kitchen door. There lay a white, blood-soaked sheet. Inside it was half of a slaughtered pig.

In those days there were no refrigerators to keep food from spoiling. So my mother and my dad, with ax, saw, and knife, cut the pig apart and put the pieces in jars containing a salt solution to preserve the meat.

When you become a Christian, Jesus says that you become the salt of the earth. You become like a preservative in a world where much has gone bad. Jesus also says you become like a light shining in the darkness, showing others the way to God.

Let's pray that we can live faithfully for the Lord who has spared us and shown us the light of salvation.

Help us, Lord, to make a difference in our world, like salt to decaying meat and light in the darkness. Help us to do that wisely and gently, motivated by your love. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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