“Jesus used numerous metaphors to describe the mission of his church: “light,” “salt,” and “leaven” are among the most striking. On the surface these seem quite different from one another, but with a little reflection we see that they all deal with penetration. Light exists to penetrate the darkness, salt exists to penetrate the meat, and leaven exists to penetrate the dough. And we exist to penetrate the world.
In this task of penetration, however, we must constantly remember what it is we are to bring to all the peoples of the world. This is not the ordinary penetration of one culture into another in which one eventually overwhelms the other. We share simply and joyfully the good news and presence of Jesus as redeemer and deliverer of all human beings and see God draw people to himself on the basis of that message. God loves all manner of human beings, and we love God by participating in this love of his for all people alike. We do this without proselytizing people for our culture where it is not necessary… and seldom is it necessary… as an expression of love of God and neighbor.
The apostle Paul declares “we have this treasure in earthen vessels,” and in our mission efforts we must continually distinguish the heavenly treasure from the earthen vessel in which we carry the treasure. The heavenly treasure is “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The earthen vessel is our body and the culture that surrounds it, i.e., the economic, political, social and religious systems by which we live and function. Our task is to bring other people the treasure, not the vessel.” Richard Foster
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus