Sunday, January 4, 2015

Are You Worth Your Salt?

By Allen White

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. Matthew 5:13

Salt has many purposes. It can melt the ice on our sidewalks, freeze our ice cream, and even preserve food. But, the most common way that we use salt is to season food.

I watch a lot of shows on the Food Network. The unfortunately thing is that none of those delectable dishes automatically appear in my kitchen during the shows. What happened to that food machine that the Jetsons’ used?

In food competitions, the cardinal sin is to present unseasoned or under-seasoned food to the judges. The implication is that if the chef doesn’t know to season his food, then why is he even a chef? Why is he on the show? Was he headed to the Price is Right and ended up in the Food Network studios? Even I know that you should season your food. Come on.

Salt elevates the taste of food. But, salt eaten by itself is not that great. During years of summer camp outside of Wichita, Kansas, it would get very hot and humid. Added to this, our church had a very high value on modesty. Interpretation: even though it was 110 degrees, we still couldn’t wear shorts at camp. The Solution: salt tablets.

Have you ever had a salt tablet? It’s not pleasant, even if you swallow it. Supposedly it kept us from getting sick or having a heat stroke or something. Honestly, I would have rather been part of some liberal shorts-wearing denomination, but that’s for another day.

Salt by itself is abrasive and rather disgusting. But, salt with something is great. Lindt sells chocolate bars season with sea salt. Unseasoned French fries aren’t worth their salt, so to speak. No one wants to taste salt for salt’s sake, but we do want salt that will enhance the dish.

“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. That doesn’t mean that we come out once a year to cover the sidewalks when Greenville, SC gets half an inch of snow. Perhaps our purpose is to elevate the appeal of what God has created.

If we present our faith as salt tablets, then the response will be “Yuck!” No wonder we dislike contrived efforts at evangelism. But, what if we embraced the parts of our lives in Christ that are better than life without Christ?

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say that Christians are better than non-Christians, because we’re not.

How is living in community with other believers better than living among non-believers? Do your friends pray for you? Do other believers point you back to Christ when you are discouraged? Does your circle “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)? If not, the believers you hang with might not really understand what it means to belong to Christ.

How do non-believers see Christ working in you? I didn’t ask, “How do they see you working to pretend to be like Christ?” How do they see Christ’s work in you? How is your saltiness? Would others respond with “Yum” or “Yuck”?

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