I didn’t realize how much I watch the Food Network until I watched it around someone who never does.

In May of last year, two of my best friends and I spent a couple of days in Pigeon Forge. Of the three of us, I tend to wake up the earliest, so I was already ready while everyone else was getting ready. I turned on the television and flipped it to the Food Network. One of my friends got excited because she watches it a lot too, and we started talking about which shows and chefs we like. After a few minutes, our other friend said, “I have no idea what y’all are talking about.”

Matthew 5:13 (NLT) reads, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”

On Sunday, Alan said that out of everything Jesus could call him, he would not want to be called salt. I, on the other hand, love that Jesus calls me salt. Because if you’ve watched at least one whole episode of Chopped or Cooks vs. Cons, you know that if something lacks seasoning or flavor, one or more judges will recommend using salt to remedy the issue. And on shows like The Pioneer Woman, you see salt used multiple times every episode. I personally use salt in a lot of foods I fix for myself and put it on certain foods I order when I eat out. Salt makes food taste better.

But salt does more than that. It preserves things, keeps them from spoiling. And salt water, gross as it tastes, provides an environment for creatures and organisms to live and thrive in.

If we are the salt of the earth, we’ve got a big role to play. We are to preserve and maintain it like Adam was to do. We’re to introduce others to God and who He is– an eternal, living water that causes all who dwell in Him to flourish. And if Christ lives in us, and if we follow His words and teachings, we should make the world a better place and do so for God’s glory.

Jesus doesn’t stop at calling us salt. He also calls us light. Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV) tells us, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

James 1:17 calls God “the Father of lights,” which further proves Jesus’ point in Matthew that children of God are to be lights.

The thing about light is that if it’s on, you have to try to get rid of it. Flip the switch, cover it up, surround it with colors and materials that absorb it. Light will shine bright when left alone. So when others can’t see the presence of God within us, it’s our fault. We’re doing something to obstruct it.

I’ve been guilty of wanting to keep Jesus a secret before. I was young, and it was almost like I thought that Jesus had a set amount of goodness in Him, and if I shared Him with others, that meant less blessings for me. Then I learned that everything about God is endless and that I was doing more harm to everyone, myself included, by being so selfish and hiding the light that I’d found that now lives in me.

Of course, we hide our lights for other reasons too. Maybe we’re afraid or nervous or confused. But what it all comes down to is: If we’re willing to hide our light, if we’re even capable of it, what does that say about our relationships with God?

Light illuminates. It shows us what’s real and true. It allows us to see clearer. It overcomes darkness. We need that. The whole world does. That’s why God wants to shine through us without anything getting in the way.

We are salt, and we are light. Those are roles for all of God’s children. But they’re only the parts we play because of the God we love and serve. Without Him, there is no good, and we don’t flourish. Without Him, there is no light to defeat the darkness. We have purpose, but it only exists through Him.

By Carrie Prevette