“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
Jesus is making a statement of fact here when he says, “You are the salt of the earth!” It is not a command or wish list. It is to be reality here and now. The implication is that we are to be what God has already made us to be.
The context is Christians facing persecution. Their numbers are small and they are insignificant. Salt is cheap in some places and expensive in others. We have the saying that a man is worth his weight in salt! Its value may vary yet it has unusual properties that far exceed its value.
This is what should happen when Christians take their stand for God in society. That stand for good renders society infertile for the growth of evil and ungodly influences. When England went through revival under the ministry of the Wesley’s and George Whitefield in the 18th century, a possible bloody revolution such as afflicted France was averted.
Usually it happens on a more moderate scale. Conversations moderated, consciences pricked, respect for others heightened.
The disciples’ of Christ do not remain silent about their faith. They do not hide themselves, but live and work in places where their influence may be felt. The light that is in them can then be most fully manifested to others so that they may see that the light of real Christian goodness. It is a light not of this world but coming from God, and may in consequence be led to give honor and praise to its Giver.
I was blessed to visit a seminary in Indonesia that reflects this teaching of Jesus. They are surrounded by a Muslim community where many live in poverty. Rather than live in an isolated enclave, the school and students serve this community with the love of Jesus. They teach literacy lessons; they provide first-aid medical care; they distribute food and clothing to the hungry and naked.
During an outbreak of violence by extremists against churches in the area, an angry Muslim mob approached the seminary one night chanting their slogans and waving their machetes. When they arrived at the buildings, they found a circle of Muslim people surrounding the campus holding hands in a large circle. They said to the extremists, “We will not allow you to destroy this school. These people help us and our children with all our needs. You may not harm them!” The mob disappeared.
Being salt and light in community also has its rewards.
RESPONSE: Today I resolve to live my life for Jesus in a way that will positively “salt” my community.
PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to stand for the good and be a salty influence for You in the world around me.