Just this morning as I was softly padding across the quiet kitchen to pour a cup of steaming coffee and take my Bible and journal to the back deck, my phone buzzed from the table showing that I had an incoming message. It was a dear friend who is walking through something very difficult. My heart ached for her as I tried to think of ways to be a help to her through this trying time.
Her situation is so big and I’m so limited in how I can help.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt like you were too small or too insignificant to make a difference? Have you ever wondered if the little things that you do to help someone really matter?
Friend, they do because you are a salt shaker and a shining light.
Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference in this world. We have each been placed in our particular set of circumstances with our particular group of family and friends because God has a plan and a purpose for us right where we are. In His infinite wisdom, He hand-picked our placement because He knew that right where we are would be the very best place for us to be.
He intended for us to shake a little salt and shine a little light into the darkness that exists in our little corner of the world.
Matthew 5:13-16 NIV says this: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
But how? How do we make a difference? How do we bring out the God-flavors of the earth? How do we bring out the God-colors in the world? How do we shine a light when things around us can seem so very dark?
When the ones we love are hurting, when trials abound, when things seem heavy, or when life’s storms rage, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to be salt and light.
There are so many ways that we can do that. It may seem cliché, but our first response should always be to bring any situation or any person before the throne of God and cover them in prayer. He holds all in His hands. He is over all, in all, and above all.
Just as we love to see our children love one another, our Father’s heart leaps when He sees His children lovingly praying for one another. By lifting our voice in prayer on behalf of our hurting loved ones, we tune into God’s love, we join in the work that God is already doing, and we align ourselves with His will and His way.
Prayer isn’t the only way that we can shake salt and shine light. We can also be someone who speaks life giving words. This life can be a hard one and there is no shortage of people who use their words to harm, but we follow the upside down, countercultural example of Jesus. Just like Him, we have the ability to use our words to heal, give hope, and offer love.
There is so much power in our words. Our words have the power to mend a wounded spirit. They have the power to lighten a load. They have the power to build connection and offer encouragement. They also have the power to season our conversations with God flavors and illuminate a path to Jesus.
Another way we shake salt and shine a light into the darkness that someone we love is experiencing is by being an authentic friend. C.S. Lewis’ quote on friendship is a favorite of mine. He says, “Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another, “What! You too? I thought no one but myself…”
This world is full of the fake and the edited. It is often polished to the point that it’s unrecognizable when compared to our own. Because we often only see the highlight reel, it can be easy for someone who is struggling to get caught in the trap of comparison and feel alone and discouraged.
Counteract this. Be real, open, and honest about your struggles. Be genuine and vulnerable. Help your hurting friend to see that you’re a real person who they don’t have to pretend with. Let them know that you are willing to wade into the hard spaces with them. After all, God’s word tells us that Jesus can relate to every hurt we’ve carried and is a friend to sinners. If He can enter into the brokenness, we should be willing to as well.
Friend, we don’t always have the power to fix things for the people we love who are experiencing difficult situations, but we do have the ability to help them feel the love of God when we shake a little salt and shine a little light into the darkness they might be facing.
Father God, Give us a heart to prayer for those who are struggling. Give us the wisdom and discernment to speak life when things feel destined for death. Give us the courage to be authentic and walk alongside people in their difficulties. We want to be people who point others to you when life is hard. Help us be people who shake a little salt and shine a little light into the darkness in our own little corner of the world.