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How Can Christians Be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World?

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"I won't call names or hit people," says Heather, 8.

That's a start. Being the light of the world doesn't call for knocking everyone else's lights out. Jesus had something different in mind when he told his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth" and "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14).

"I could give kitties and other things," says Brian, 10. "After that, I could tell people to believe in Jesus to have eternal life."

This sounds like a great strategy to influence cat lovers.

"To set a good example, you could be a good sport," says Faith, 11.

Keep the big picture in view. If we win or lose with equal grace, we'll be able to do other things Faith suggests: "I could talk to people about God, invite them to church and pray when bad things happen."

If we exhibit bad sportsmanship, we'll forfeit opportunities to speak words of life into people's souls. How can winning a game compare with influencing one person for eternity?

"I could be a good example of salt and light by being a good neighbor," says Janet, 11. "We can volunteer to help other people when they need help."

In today's mobile society, a neighbor may be a co-worker who lives across town. Pollster George Gallup Jr. reports that Americans are lonely. Modern life offers many advantages, but a sense of community isn't one of them. Before television invaded America, people used to talk to each other at home. Imagine that! The average American spends more than four hours a day watching mindless dribble.

Just imagine the shock of your family and neighbors when you pull away from television long enough to acknowledge their presence. Jesus designed Christians to be the light of the world, not the afterglow of a television screen.

"You could stand up to bullies and tell them God doesn't like it when they hurt other people," says Chloe, 11.

Jesus confronted the worst kind of bullies — religious tyrants.

He reserved the toughest language of his ministry for them. Of the scribes and Pharisees, he said: "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works, they do to be seen by men" (Matthew 23:4-5).

The bullies eventually plotted to get rid of Jesus because the light of his life and teaching kept shining into their darkness. Oh, how they must have congratulated themselves when the Nazarene died on a cross between two criminals. Their plot appeared to succeed until an angel announced at an empty tomb, "He is not here; for he is risen!" (Matthew 28:6).

Because Jesus rose from the dead, Jake, 7, would be salt and light by being a "missionary to people around the world and helping people up when they fall."

Did you know that everyone has fallen in the sense that all have sinned? Let your salt season and your light shine by telling someone that Jesus came to rescue us from the "fall."

If Jesus is the source of your life, all the world's temptations to find life apart from him seem bland. When the light of Jesus shines clearly though a life, some will run to the light in wonder and others will flee or oppose it because they love darkness.

Memorize this truth: "You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13a). "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14a).

Listen to a talking book, download the "Kids Color Me Bible" for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the "Mission Explorers Streaming Video" at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 CAREY KINSOLVING

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