Jesus begins his teaching on the mount with the beatitudes and then goes into talking about salt and light. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
There are so many points just to this verse! I want to do a bit of chewing or meditation on it. Let’s have a look at it …
We are to be lights to the world – light where there is darkness. Do you know that the Holy Spirit in you enables you carry light wherever you go? Once you have chosen to follow Jesus, you are a carrier of light. This can often mean that you are aware of sin in your own life because all of a sudden there is light shining there. The light that you carry banishes darkness because darkness cannot exist. But the light is not just for yourself. You can influence the spiritual atmosphere because of the light that you carry. If you want to look at light in the Bible you can check out some of the verses here.
The next bit Jesus talks about is being a town on a hill that cannot be hidden. This short statement teaches about identity, position and calling.
Town – Identity. We are to be established like a town – not a temporary settlement. We are to be built – not just found but purposefully designed. A town is raised up with the possibility of growing. The places where we stand, be it in the home, school, business, church, community … have been designed with you in mind. Even if you are moving through, perhaps you are studying or on a trip, you are to behave with permanence, investing in the relationships around you and shining in people’s lives. This can be a painful thing to do because you cannot fully invest in people and keep your heart protected. A town cannot consist of just one building, or you by yourself. A town needs variety. Each of us is different. Our identity is being part of a body of people.
Hill – Position. Put on a hill – vantage point, commanding a presence and seeing where the enemy may attack so safe from danger. Have you ever visited old castles? They normally sit high up on the hilltop exposed to the elements but showing power and might. This is not the place where you have climbed to. You cannot gain this position but have been placed there. You don’t have to compare yourself to others to elevate your position and you cannot put others in a higher place than you. Your position is on this high ground not by right, but by grace.
Not hidden – Calling. Noticed, seen, influential, giving hope and focus to others. There are so many times in my life that I have felt that I have been hidden away. Motherhood can feel like one of those seasons, but you are not hidden, you are influencing your child. You may ‘only’ work in a shop and feel overlooked, but your smile and friendliness can be what one lonely person needs. Being a random face in the sphere of whatever business you are involved in can feel like you are unseen, but your decisions to be honest can change a CEO. The truth is, we never fully know the difference that the ‘hidden’ and ‘unseen’ things that we do, say and decide can or will make. You can try to hide, but you will not succeed because your calling is to not be hidden!
Encouraging and challenging? Yes! But Jesus doesn’t tell us to try your hardest to do these things. He states, you ARE the light of the world. We ARE these things already. We ARE built and established on a hill where we cannot hide. You have identity, position and calling.