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Being the Salt of the Earth

July 22nd, 2013

You are the salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:13

Salt is “hidden” in food. Once it hits the food, it disappears from sight and we cannot see it normally, but it is there, seasoning and preserving.

The church is like this – hidden in plain sight but making a difference in the world. Christ meant for His followers to influence the world for good, to stand for righteousness and goodness, to bear a witness to His truth, and to love people in His name. Through our faith, testimony, and service, we can become the season that makes life enjoyable for people. We can become the preservative of society by our witness for Him, standing for what is good and right in the public square. Who can we touch this week? Where will we use our influence for Him? I think about several people I know who give their time and energy to counsel prostitutes, helping them escape from being victims of pimps and the lusts of men.

There is a subtlety¬† to spices. They do not and should not overpower, or draw attention to themselves, but they must remain pure, or else they lose their power. “If the salt loses its saltiness…” Christ warned, and the church must protect her purity, but at the same time not distract from the work itself. A simple household maid in my church several years ago, was so sincere, gracious, and kind that she regularly brought her employers to church with her, and saw several of them profess faith in Christ. The hidden subtlety but obvious sincerity of her faith opened doors to be the salt of the earth.

I think we all lose a little bit of respect when “do-good-ers” draw attention away from their contribution to themselves, as in “This was paid for by Joe’s Diner.” It is commercial, lacks sincerity, and is simply bad taste. Salt should augment the food, not draw our attention to itself. We want Christ to get the credit for what we do, for He has made the difference in our lives, He has changed us from being selfish pigs to becoming compassionate people, but we should be careful and wise how we do this, otherwise we will be just as crass as Joe’s Diner. Like you, I have seen people who publicly give credit to Jesus for their success – athletes, musicians – and then their lives do not live up to their testimony. We need wisdom to know when to speak, always prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in us.

In His Sermon on the Mount, which is where the passage above is found, Christ described the traits of His followers – how we can be the salt of the earth – and it was not through showy, self-focused ways, but through possessing character and humbly acting out that character in our day-to-day lives. Forgiveness, generosity, kindness, lust-free-thinking, fairness, humility, confident faith in God, being clear in life about the direction we are going, building a life that can endure the storms of life. But then taking our God-constructed lives and using our opportunities to help others.

So, where are you being the salt of the earth? We have to find some way to connect ourselves with the needs of the world around us.

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