To be salt and light is to be like Jesus. Look at his dealings with people and you will see what I mean. Jesus was always the bigger person.
In Luke 19 Jesus is passing through Jericho. Crowds come to see him. So much so that every vantage point needed to be taken. For a small guy like Zacchaeus this meant to catch a glimpse of this great teacher, climbing a tree would be the order of the day. Now climbing a tree can be a tough enough job at the best of times but wearing a tunic, surely this just complicates things.
In position and watching Jesus interact with the crowd, the last thing Zacchaeus expects is for Jesus to notice him, speak to him and most definitely not to invite himself round to his house.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector, the despised and rejected of the day. He would be known for taking what was due for the Romans and always a portion for himself. He lived well, but probably had few or no friends.
What a day then when the Rabbi invites himself to visit. Most people wouldn’t have even given him the time of day. Some would just want to punch or spit on him. But not Jesus.
Imagine the situation in John 8 when a woman is thrown in front of Jesus having been caught in the act of adultery. ‘She is guilty’ is the cry from her accusers. Watch Jesus. He is slow to comment, maybe collecting his thoughts before he speaks. He doesn’t condemn, he doesn’t judge, instead he his compassionate, insightful, full of grace and truth.
Being salt and light offered both recipients turn-around moments. Sin is acknowledged and then covered with grace. A new life opportunity with one instruction encouraging them to ‘make things right’ and ‘sin no more’. Salt & light.
To forgive when others would condemn takes a bigger person.
To include when others would exclude takes a bigger person.
To notice when others don’t takes a bigger person.
To be inconvenienced when others prefer ease and comfort, takes a bigger person.
This is a challenge. In a world where we are taught to be concerned about ourselves, to look out for ‘number one’ anything like these things mentioned above can only come from being the bigger person. And a lot of that bigness can only truly come when we invite Jesus in, to make our lives bigger and big enough to act in such a different way.
Let’s take time this Christmas and be ready and willing to grow and become the bigger person Jesus needs us to be.