In the first century salt and light was very valuable. In the Roman marketplace salt was even used at times as money and light is still a valuable resource in all its forms.
Think about what salt does. Salt preserved and purified. In the days of no refrigeration salt was used to preserve meats to prevent decay. (Ezekiel 16:4). Tells us that salt was used to rub down new born babies. Salt is a natural abrasive cleaner, I have used a handful of salt with some white vinegar to do my washing and it comes out clean and fresh smelling. Salt makes people thirsty, it spices things up, it acts as a preservative and it enhances flavor. So what Jesus was saying to His followers was, “Here’s what I want you to do ~
Live the kind of life that’s going to make people thirst for the truth about Me.
When we live life like a cleanser and a preservative, we help slow down the rate of moral decay in society. We don’t do it by protesting and complaining. That’s what the world has come to expect from Christians. We are often viewed as a bunch of ‘whiny babies.’ Instead, we are to take positive actions. We don’t let the world get us down, we use our God given resources, resources like . . . and I know this may sound a bit radical, but the greatest resource we have is GOD, Himself. Call upon God for the strength and wisdom and peace you need.
What about LIght?
We pay a lot of money to keep the darkness at bay during the night. During the day, plants take much of their sustenance from sunlight, light is life to our world and to us. Then there is the light of understanding and spiritual revelation. Jesus chose to reveal himself therefore as Light. When he preached at the Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) in the Temple at Jerusalem. He said “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12).
It is all a matter of focus - I am going to say something radical here - many Christians read our Gospel reading today and think it means you have to do good deeds that everybody knows about, to be doing good works so that you can boast about them and bring glory to God - “I did this because I am a Christian” kind of thing.” If you think that then you are forgetting that we are supposed to do our good deeds in secret. (Matthew 6:1). So did Jesus contradict himself? No! Salt and Light are not what you do. . . .they are who you are!!! From the moment you accepted Christ as your Savior.
You focus on Jesus, you take your eyes of yourself and bring your thoughts back to Him and you become Salt and Light. The love and goodness Jesus puts within you flows out naturally to others as long as your focus is not on yourself but on Him. Stop worrying about yourself and your situation - give yourself and your situation to Him and remember you are DEAD to the flesh and risen with Him, so ignore yourself, ignore your emotions/feelings and do what He tells you or what He would do, then expect to see miracles. Because one thing that salt and light have in common is they have a radical influence on whatever it is that they come into contact with. That’s the important thing.