Thursday, June 4, 2009

Good for Nothing Salt

“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…. (Matthew 5:13).

Prayer in schools is no longer allowed. What’s a Christian to do? Run and hide? Retreat into isolation? Become Amish? I think not. Jesus prayed “Father, I pray that you DO NOT take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from evil… I have SENT THEM INTO the world” (John 17:15, 18). This was a prayer that Jesus offered in behalf of His disciples, and ALL THOSE who would believe afterwards…. which includes believers up to this day.

Jesus said we are the salt of the EARTH. Not salt of the church, but of the world. That’s means Christian people, young and old alike, have a role IN society, schools, and in the workplace. We are not to be isolated.

SALT FLAVORS FOOD. Would you want to eat corn on the cob w/o salt? Can you imagine eating French Fries without salt? Any time you eat something that is bland, you immediately reach for the salt shaker. Christians people are intended to season society with the message of God. Jesus wants us to be influential people, not isolated people.

SALT MAKES PEOPLE THIRSTY. That’s why movie theaters put salt on the popcorn. When Christians are in tune with the Holy Spirit, and they live with a sense of purpose and destiny, and demonstrate peace & joy in their own lives, it often creates a spiritual thirst in the people around them. I think God would have us this way.

SALT IS A PRESERVATIVE. In ancient times salt was used to cure meat and preserve other food items for extended periods of time. Likewise, Christian people are the only thing that keeps society from totally falling apart. There is a certain restraint that we are able to exert on society just by our mere presence, and that includes teenagers and the effect they can have on their classmates (regardless of prayer in schools being forbidden). If we run to the mountains then the restraint is removed and total lawlessness will abound. This is not the way of God. He intends for us to ‘occupy until He comes.’ When He does come (at the Rapture or Second Coming) Christians will be taken out of the world at that time.

SALT IRRITATES & HEALS. Have you ever poured salt into an open wound? It burns. Yet is also heals. Christian people are irritants in society. This world is like an open sore and our message irritates. We are also a healing agent for society. Our value system clashes with the world’s value system. Sometimes we have to take a stand and the message is not a popular one. Is it better to run away, or stay? I would say that Jesus irritated people… the apostles did… and the early Christians did as well. The only way they were able to have this affect was by being in the world… not in a monastery.

Jesus said if salt loses its saltiness (above) it is GOOD FOR NOTHING and should be THROWN OUT and TRAMPLED underfoot. Those words are alarming! What’s the message here?

In ancient times salt was not processed like we have today – small granules in a salt shaker. Salt then was gathered in large chunks from the Dead Sea. It was pieces of rock, full of minerals, which also contained salt. To flavor food the whole rock would be thrown into the kettle to cook the salt out. The people would reuse the same rock over and over again until all the salt was cooked out. Then the remaining rock was simply thrown outside where it was trampled in the footpaths or highways.

Jesus is saying to His people – if we are not having a salty effect on the world around us, or if we are not ‘flavoring the kettle,’ then we have lost our usefulness and (to use His words) are GOOD FOR NOTHING!

You see, there’s more to Christianity than simply 90 minutes on a Sunday morning…. or retreating into isolation… or hiding behind our stained glass windows. It’s called ‘mission’ – as in the 'Great' one.

Until the church is driven underground because of (real) persecution like believers in China face, or something similar to the persecution of Nero that the early believers endured…. I believe the church has a mandate to stay put.

They’ve forbidden prayer in schools? Christianity will flourish in spite of it. Just watch.

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