Salt and Light: The Effectiveness of Believers


How effective are you as a believer? The moment you come to Christ, you become a vessel for His use. You enrol into His service. When I intend to do a house chore, I desire that the tool I use for the task works well. It is frustrating to work with a frayed broom. It is highly inconveniencing to work with a leaking jug. Or a broken mop. When typing on a keyboard, a single key that isn’t functioning well can ruin the entire typing experience. Jesus speaks of the believer’s effective use as a vessel by using two analogies- salt and light.

Matthew 5:13-16 “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. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus tells us that salt and light are analogies of our effectiveness. Bad salt is bad effectiveness. In fact, it is so bad that it ought to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. A life without light is so ineffective that it is as ridiculous as placing a lamp under a bowl. What does that effectiveness of salt and light look like practically? The scripture that shows this effectiveness most practically is 1 Timothy 4:12. Paul calls Timothy to set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Look at those five areas of your life and ask if your life is saltless and dark. Is the quality of the words of my mouth saltless and dark? Is the conduct of my behaviour saltless and dark? Is my proclamation of love saltless and dark? Is the expression of my faith saltless and dark? Is the purity of my body, heart and mind saltless and dark? The following characteristics of salt and light can help us see the nature of our effectiveness.


Salt preserves food and prevents putrefaction. In the same way, our effectiveness prevents the world around us from moral decay.

Salt brings flavour to food. Our effectiveness can make the world around us a more palatable place to be.

Salt highlights the food. Too much salt and too little salt will turn the attention from the food and toward the salt. When we eat a good meal, we don’t talk about how the salt was so good. We talk about how the meal was so good. We only talk of the salt if it was in excess or in absence. And that is not a good thing. Our effectiveness is killed when we draw attention to ourselves. We can do that in two ways- by downplaying our efforts and by overplaying them.

Salt highlights the flavour of other spices. Our effectiveness can bring out the good of the world that God created.

Salt has no impact as a single grain. Our effectiveness in the Christian faith will only be in community with fellow Christians.

Salt works effectively when it is pure. A life of purity makes you more effective for the LORD’S work.

Salt has no impact when sealed in a container. Our effectiveness as believers works when we go out into the world and not when we huddle together like a club.


Light gives sight to everything else. Nothing is observable truthfully or fully apart from the light. Our effectiveness involves highlighting the truth.

Light highlights the beauty of other objects. Too much light and too little light will turn the attention from the object and toward the light. When we see a beautiful spectacle, we don’t talk about how amazing the light was. We talk about how beautiful the spectacle was. We only talk of the light if it was in excess or in absence. And that is not a good thing. Just like the salt, light has the same lesson; our effectiveness is killed when we draw attention to ourselves. We can do that in two ways- by downplaying our efforts and by overplaying them.

Like salt, too much light is blinding and causes a nuisance. Too little light is irritating and causes disturbance.

Light needs to be given room to shine. Covering the source of light is an oxymoron. Our effectiveness is highlighted when we allow the gifts God has given us to help people and not when we keep them to ourselves.

Is your life effective? Are you salt and light?



Ernest is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father. He has been married to Waturi since September 2012. They have three children- Thandiwe, Ivanna, and Theo. He is also the author of four books. The Wamboyes are passionate to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly taught and understood in our post-modern world. They are champions of biblical discipleship and furthering the Kingdom of God by transforming one person at a time. They are the founders of The Relationship Centre Ltd (TRC), an organisation that aims to promote biblical family values in contemporary urban communities.

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