You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Part 1 - Salt
This is a very familiar passage of scripture found in Matthew 5, and I've been thinking about it a lot. It tells us - followers of Christ - that in relation to the world, we are salt and light. It says that's what we are, not what we can be...we are, present tense, indicative mood...a simple statement of fact.
Salt is both a preservative and a seasoning, but in the context here, it's clearly referring to it's taste, not it's ability to preserve. How many times have you eaten something and said, "It needs a little salt?" Whenever a dish is lacking in flavor, salt is almost always what it needs. It is added to cookies to enhance the sweetness, and it's added to vegetables to make them tolerable. I mean, really, you can manage to eat just about anything, if you can add a little salt.
The verse says, what good is salt if it loses it's flavor? It's good for nothing. Here's the thing: pure salt can't lose it's flavor. It's salt, so it's salty. It's a mineral, not a spice that comes from plants and whose flavor does fade over time. Salt can lose it's flavor, however, if it becomes contaminated with something.
If we are salt, then we need to be used as such. We keep our salt in a salt shaker. It's salty in there, alright, but useless until it's poured out, bringing flavor to whatever it touches. Until then it's just a shaker filled with potential. I feel that our churches are much the same. As long as we stay contained inside our buildings, doing the Jesus thing during designated hours of the week, we are potential flavor in a bottle, never poured out for the world.
I don't know if you've noticed, but the world can be a very tasteless, intolerable place. A little salt would go a long way. A smile, a little conversation, an extra tip for the waitress, some yard work for a single mom, a little elbow grease for an elderly person, clothing for someone in need, a judgment-free hot meal for the homeless, and I could go on and on. Salt.
You are salt. I am salt. If we aren't making a difference in the world, then I see at least two things that could be the problem: one, we just aren't carrying our faith outside the church building; two, we are contaminated.
We live in an environment full of contaminants. If we don't guard our hearts, that stuff gets in, watering down our flavor, and then we taste just like everything else. We blend in, no noticeable difference. Self-centeredness is probably the biggest contaminate, and shows up through materialism, fear, trying to fit in, even being "relevant" to the point that you are no different - you've just added Jesus, and maybe you're a little nicer. Well, I don't know about you, but if I am salting my green beans, I don't want to add more green bean flavor...I want something different. I want salt. Ask God to show you if there is anything contaminating your life - that's His job, not mine. I'm just encouraging you to think about it.
I know I have a long way to go, but this is what motivates me to reach people. He re-created me for this. You, too. We really can make a difference in the world we live in...wherever we find ourselves planted in it. This Saturday, July 16, is a great opportunity to love people in Auburn. If you live here and want to serve, meet us at Church of the Highlands at 8:00, and we will help you find a place to serve. I am praying that this becomes a lifestyle for us, as a church body.