“You are the salt of the earth.”
When we hear this verse, we think of flavor. That is what we use salt for in our modern context. The original hearers, though, would have thought of preservation. That is what they used salt for. They did not have refrigeration and salt was used to preserve their food. In many parts of the world today, salt is still used to keep food from spoiling and going bad. Without preserving the meat and fish in salt, they will rot and decay.
This verse speaks to the ongoing influence of the Church and the followers of Christ in the world. We have all heard the arguments before:
“What good does the Church do?”
“What difference does the Church really make in the world?”
“Wouldn’t the world be better off without the scourge of organized religion?”
The reality is that it is that many churches and Christian organizations are involved in ministry and service in their communities and around the world. Often, these Christian groups are providing better services to the poor and needy than their respective governments. When the devastating earthquake hit Haiti a few years ago, it was not the United Nations that was the first on the scene, it was Christian Churches and Christian relief organizations showing up to help.
What I think that Jesus was talking about here, however, is relating to a deeper level than just service and generosity to people who are needy. Those who are followers of Christ also provide a connection to the life of God in their respective arenas. If we believe the Bible, we understand that time is rushing towards a fulfillment. Society is decaying. As the Salt of the World, Christians are slowing that decaying process down. We are providing a preservative to give others a chance to respond to God’s invitation.
You may be the only Christian in your office, classroom, or block where you live. As such, you have an incredible opportunity to be a preservative to the people that God has placed in your world. Instead of thinking, “Wow, I am the only Christian at my company,” maybe you could start thinking a little more strategically. “If I am the only Christian in my office, how does God want me to have an impact on the lives of those I work with?”
How are you the Salt of the World? Have you ever thought of yourself as a preservative?
To be continued…
If you would like to help Annie and I to be salt here in Brazil, here is the link. Obrigado! (Thank you!)