“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the nightfor all to see.” - Matthew 5:13-14
Archimedes said that if he were given a fulcrum, a long enough lever, and somewhere to stand, he could move the world. But he never did it. Jesus showed that if he was given the wholehearted devotion of an insignificant group of ordinary people, he, too, could move the world. And he did it!
When vast crowds were attracted to Jesus as a result of his dramatic healing ministry, he set about teaching them the message he had come to deliver. But he didn’t teach them in the way we might have expected. He started by taking a small group of men off to one side and training them.
At first sight this looks like a slow and cumbersome approach. Jesus could have reached more people, personally, if he had gone to the masses rather than spending so much time on a small group. But he knew he had only a limited time on earth, and his technique was to mobilize people who would not only carry on where he left off but would train future generations who would continue the proclamation down through the centuries.
While Jesus was investing in “a few good men,” he was looking for quality and quantity through them. The quality would be in their blessedness, which would come through their attitudes to the Lord, to themselves, and to others. Jesus’ description of blessed attitudes or “Beatitudes” became one of the cornerstones of his teaching and remains to this day a fundamental statement of discipleship.
If the quality would be seen in the disciples’ blessed attitudes, the quantity would be seen in the way their blessedness was scattered like salt among others and diffused like light in the darkness as they lived out their lives in the world. Jesus didn’t call his disciples to be blessed in a box; he told them that they were called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. They would be his chosen means to get the Good News out. Men who know God’s blessing, who have the “blessed attitudes,” and who band together for the good of the Kingdom become like salt that adds flavor to society and light that lightens the darkness and shows other men the way to go. This way Jesus gets quality and quantity.
When Jesus takes his stand in the hearts of men, he receives the fulcrum of devotion in their lives. Then, as he wields the lever of his all-powerful love, he moves the world in which his disciples live—and the movement is always upward.
For Further Study: Matthew 5:1-16