The Influence of a Saint

Those who belong to Jesus and come under the gracious rule of God are changed and are called to purposely stand out from the world. David Garland relates a story about the Hall of Fame baseball player Mickey Mantle and a teammate Bobby Richardson (remember those guys?). For years Mickey Mantle had abused his body with alcohol, and when he was on the verge of dying his many friends gathered around his hospital bed to say their farewells. Bobby Richardson was one of them. Bobby was a follower of Jesus Christ and after retiring from baseball he became a minister of the Gospel. But while playing for the New York Yankees he had not joined the wild parties that marked the lives of Mantle and his teammates. In fact Mantle used to make fun of Bobby as "the milk drinker." But as his life ebbed away he most wanted to talk with Bobby Richardson. The testimony of Bobby's life in the midst of mockery and jeers had made a deep impact on Mickey. 

Jesus said that we are to have an influence for His Kingdom's sake by being salt and light in the world. Our meditation this week will be on another familiar portion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the metaphors of salt and light. Read Matthew 5:1-16 and use the questions below to help you meditate on the influence of a saint in the world.

1. In the first metaphor Jesus gives is, "You are the salt of the earth." What is the role of salt in the world? More specifically, what do you know about the role of salt in Jesus' day?

2. If those who belong to Jesus are the salt of the earth, what is their role in the earth?

3. What does this suggest about the nature of the 'earth'? 

4. How do you think that followers of Jesus fulfill their role of being the salt of the earth? Can you think of any Scriptures?

5. What is the condition for having a positive influence in the earth? (v. 13)

6. How does one lose his or her saltiness and why does Jesus imply that it cannot be restored?

7. What do you think is our 'saltiness' and how can we maintain it? 

8. The second metaphor is, "You are the light of the world." In the Bible, what does light represent? (Consider Psa. 13:3; 19:8; 119:105; Jn. 3:20; Rom. 13:12; II Cor. 4:6; I Jn. 5:5f.; Isa. 42:6; Jn. 1:4-5; 8:12; 9:5) 

9. What is the point of Jesus' references to a city on a hill and a lamp on a lampstand? 
* Why are we inclined to hide our light?

10. How are we to make our light shine and to what end? 

11. What do both of these metaphors suggest about the nature of the world in which we live? 

12. What is the connection between what Jesus says about a saint's influence in the world and the beatitudes (vv. 3-12)? 

13. What did you take away from this meditation on being salt and light?

Hope to see you on Sunday! God be with you,

Dan