Leaders must live, lead and make decisions through the principles and ethical standards set forth by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus proclaims to his followers:
“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."
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
As a reformist, Jesus Christ came to the earth over 2,000 years ago to create a new reality for all people. As Christian leaders, we get the privilege of joining Jesus in creating this new reality. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was a declaration of a new way of living. We get to be salt and light to His creation! Jesus proposes a transforming way of living that compelled his followers to live under the reign of God. Even those who do not profess Jesus as the Son of God recognize the clear ethical teachings in Matthew 6-7 for all people of good will.
N.T. Wright (2010) proposes that through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is inaugurating His Kingdom on earth (p. 107). The kingdom represents a dynamic power. God’s power is everywhere. This dynamic power would be available for all people to receive. Jesus intends to persuade us to become obedient to this realm of God. The idea that Jesus is prescribing is not that this new reality is a little ways off or that it has to be waited for, but it is close to the hearers and they may enter it at any moment.
The ethos of Salt and Light leadership is the creation of a new reality. There are 6.7 billion people living on the earth. Leaders in this new reality are stewards of God’s blessings. We use these blessings to make others’ live better. “When people give their lives to liberate others as Jesus did, they are practicing true Christianity” (Keller, 2008, p. 67).
As leaders of salt and light our relationship with God takes priority over our relatedness to family, race, culture, nation, gender, or any other group to which we belong. A high focus on God puts other relationships into perspective. Because we are drawing close to him, we take on his character. We see people through his eyes. We treat people as he would treat them. We take on his nature of liberation and justice. The new reality offers reconciliation. Our society is inundated with systems of injustice. Jesus left his followers on this earth to continue advancing God’s Kingdom. How do we as stewards of this salt and light use our resources?