“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 (MSG)
Why You Are Here
The Salt & The Light
After summer, life is hard. There are new routines, new people, new challenges. We walk into new classrooms full of people we have to learn to get along with and homework, lots of homework. When faced with these challenges, we have to remember to be joyful. But sometimes finding joy in these situations is like trying to find your phone when it falls between the couch cushions – you end up looking for it in all the wrong places.
One of Jesus’s most well known teachings is the Sermon on the Mount. He speaks to his followers about who they are as opposed to what they should do. Jesus says that by following Him, you matter, you’re important. Because of this, our daily actions affect those around us. Our actions affect the world. That’s why he calls us to be the Salt and the Light.
Salt is a preservative. Before refrigerators, it was used to keep things from rotting. As salt, it’s our job to preserve the good things in the world. From the very beginning, God called us to care for the earth. In Genesis 1:28 it says, “Take charge! Be responsible for the fish in the sea and the birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” We were entrusted to take care of this amazing earth and all the people that fill it up.
Salt also adds flavor. We flavor other people’s lives by experiencing life by their side. Hopefully, we make those experiences “taste” better because we are with them. Actions speak volumes. It is not always what we say that makes the most impact. In the same way, we are here to spread joy and encouragement so that people might experience God’s love through our actions. If we aren’t spreading joy, what good are we? We are like salt that has lost its flavor. We need to have the same compassion that Jesus had towards others.
We aren’t called just to be the Salt. We’re also called to be the light. Light dispels darkness. Your life should have such an influence on others that wherever we are, we dispel the darkness. We don’t light a candle and hide it under a bucket. We want that light to shine throughout the house. In the same way we need to light the way for others by sharing God’s love with all. You can share with someone about your camp experience and what you learned from chapels or inviting someone to youth group because it has helped you grow in your faith.
But this isn’t easy, you know? It’s scary being the light because you never know how people will respond – what if they don’t like what you have to say. What if people are mean because of what I have to say? We were never promised that this would be easy or that everyone would love us. However, it’s worth it. Sometimes it feels like we’re climbing a mountain. The hike is hard, your lungs are burning, you’re exhausted, you just want to stop. But the view from the top is indescribable – full of awe and majesty. Being the light can be scary, keeping up relationships can feel exhausting, and it is way easier not to try, but no one gains anything from sitting at home. By getting out there, you are helping people understand who they are and why they were created. You are inviting them into a love that will never fail them. You are opening their eyes to admire God’s ability to create something so beautiful in themselves. This is why it is so worth it.
The World is Waiting
So you might be asking “how am I, little ol’ me, supposed to influence the world?” We must be the Salt and the Light to people around us. We must keep our “saltiness,” even when others put us down. God didn’t make you to hide you. No! He made you to shine brightly so others can experience His love too. Never let persecution alter your function in the world. Martin Luther King Jr., when confronted with persecution said, “I will not recant, I cannot deny that which is true.” That is how we should live our lives.
At the end of Closing Campfire, Joel sends us out with an important reminder that in the weeks and months ahead we will be faced with many choices – decisions to make about what we will and will not do, how we will act, and what kind of person we will become. We are in those weeks and months ahead friends! Now is the time to put others second by showing those around us what the love of Christ looks like. Now is the time to celebrate joy in every circumstance, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. When you leave camp, you carry the lessons learned at Tecumseh out into the world. When we live as people of blessing, we are the salt and the light – in school, in our homes, in our nation, and in our world. That is why you are here.