Fit for Battle are children prepared to be salt and light? “My children need to be salt and light.” T his is by far one of the most oft-given reasons why Christian parents continue to send their children to secular schools. They usually quote Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 5:13-14 where He declares, “YOU are the salt of the earth. YOU are the light of the world” (emphasis mine). Parents use this verse to support their decision to educate their children in secular programs. After all, this is what Jesus commanded every Christian to be, right? With this being said, the debate usually ends. So how should we address the salt and light issue when it comes to educating our children? Whenever I have heard someone teach on how to correctly interpret the Bible, they always begin by emphasizing the importance of context. Peter wrote that no portion of Scripture is open to private interpretation. We must view any portion of God’s Word in light of what other portions of the Bible say about it. Context is extremely important. 24 Let’s look at the context of these words from our Lord. Matthew wrote that Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. This resulted in large crowds following Him from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. With this backdrop, the writer opens up chapter five by telling us when Jesus saw the crowds, He withdrew and went up on a mountain. We also know from other similar occurrences, whenever Jesus saw large crowds, He looked on them with compassion. One gospel writer stated that Jesus saw the masses as sheep wandering about without a shepherd. They were lost and had no hope. On this occasion, a group of people saw Him withdraw to a hillside, and they went to Him. This is an important point because when this group came to Jesus, He sat down and began teaching them. It is to this group of people that He told them they were to be the salt and light of the world.