“You are the salt of the earth…”
These words, spoken by Jesus 2000 years ago have become common in our speech today. When we say someone is ‘the salt of the earth’ we mean they are good, reliable or ‘sound’ as they say in Ireland. It’s a nice compliment but it’s easy to forget what it really means.
Jesus spoke these words, so they must be true. What do they really mean?
Salt is essential to life. It also has multiple uses. So, Jesus is telling us that we are essential to life, that we are useful in many ways. Don’t you find that encouraging? You are essential in God’s plan and you are of great use. Go and sprinkle yourself around!
I’m doing a Transforming Working Life course at the moment with the ICCC (International Christian Chamber of Commerce) and we were discussing this in our breakout rooms last week. Don’t ask me how we got to it as we were discussing foundations! However, I want to share the epiphany I had that evening. As Christians we can sometimes be apologetic or far too discreet about our faith. Perhaps we don’t want to offend, or we want to be careful. We keep the cap on our salt.
But salt is salt and it’s essential. It’s not about who or what we are that affects its effectiveness – it’s what it’s applied to. So, salt applied to delicious golden chips can make them twice as delicious (IMHO) but salt that gets into a papercut as I eat said chips can be absolute agony! It’s not about the salt, it’s about how and where it’s received. Our responsibility is to sprinkle. Ultimately, the same salt that makes something delicious can hurt, but it also sterilizes. The salt applied to meat that is then hung and dried makes delicious biltong or jerky, but some people think that’s a disgusting way to eat meat and some of us are vegetarians.
I guess my point is, it’s not up to you how and where you are received; your responsibility is to go and be who you are.
Which brings me to the second part of the verse ““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) How does salt lose its saltiness? I had to turn to my friend Google for this one.
There are two ways – separation and contamination. So, it’s important for us to meet and be part of the body of Christ. And it’s important for us to stay pure, to ‘be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’, as God says in Leviticus 19:2. How might you do that?
We’ve been meeting back in person since May 23rd and it would be lovely to see you there. We have several Life Groups running throughout the week. Both are available on Zoom as well as in person. It’s also exciting that we’re having a service as part of Beyond the Boundary celebrations on the weekend of 27th June. It would be great to see you there.
Mark’s prayer below seems to perfectly dovetail with the sentiments above. Be salt – enjoy and be enjoyed!
Prayer for changing times.
Throughout the year, one of the constants we have all had to manage is change. This is our new reality. It makes planning for everything difficult. So now, our conversation is more likely to be, “will I be able to do this?!”
So how might I live in this new reality?
This prayer, written by an American pastor, Cindy Hickman, opens us up to this new order where we allow God to work in and through us regardless of the circumstance. We give God permission to ‘drop us into this new reality’. I trust the prayer is helpful.
God of all,
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering,
Let me be put to work for you, or set aside for you,
Praised for you, or criticised for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven.