Posted by: Heather | April 25, 2011

The Salt of the Earth

 

Matt 5:13-16  “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 by men.  You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Wow…have I really been gone that long?  I was checking on my blog a few days ago, and realized that it’s been well over a month since I posted anything, and much longer than that since I posted regularly.   I have found that life seems to happen in seasons, and lately my season has been too busy to put fingers to keyboard.

My children and I just returned from what was supposed to be a family trip to Black Mountain, NC for the Feast of Passover.  My husband and two younger children had to stay behind because of the season of life we’re in right now.  For the past several months, my mother-in-law’s health has quickly deteriorated.  Although we’ve known how drastic the circumstance was, we just recently got the official diagnosis…a moderately severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease.   It has seemed for the past several months that everything has been put on hold, including the regular study and writing time that I enjoy so much.  My mother-in-law is now to the point of needing almost 24 hour care, so that always comes first, no matter the time of day or night.

During our time away, it was like being in another world.  With those daily responsibilities set aside for a few days, it seemed as though I could forge a deeper communication with God, and He could deal with me in a way that was uninterrupted and clear.  As I prepared to teach a lesson myself during that retreat, all I could think about was salt.  It seemed in every session, the LORD would bring something to my memory about it, and every session was screaming ‘salt!’ to me.  I realized this is what God is doing through our circumstances right now…helping me learn to be salt.

I have read this passage in Matthew 5 many times, but never really realized the context of it.  This is a chapter most of us are familiar with if we have any kind of biblical background.   In chapter 4, we see Jesus calling His disciples, and the multitudes beginning to follow Him.  He preaches this sermon near the beginning of His ministry.   As He begins to preach the sermon the Christian world has termed ‘the beatitudes’, He shares the qualities that make us blessed in the eyes of the LORD.   Immediately following each quality, Jesus tells the crowd what is to be gained by modeling it.  To mention just a few, we gain mercy by being merciful, comfort when we mourn, and we become filled when we hunger and thirst after righteousness.  All of these qualities are the things that make us salt and light to the world.

Salt has two main uses.   It is a seasoning and a preservative.  Salt has the unique quality of bringing out the underlying flavors in food.  It doesn’t take much of it to accomplish this task, and salt doesn’t take a starring role in a dish.  It’s simply there to enhance the natural flavors in the food we prepare, and our enjoyment of those foods.   Without it, food can be very bland.  But on the other hand, too much salt is simply overwhelming and unpleasant.  It was never meant to be the main flavor in food.  Too much salt can be worse than no salt at all in many cases.

The second purpose of salt is its use as a preservative.  Meat and other foods can be cured with it, and even a small bit of salt in a loaf of bread helps to increase the shelf life of the finished product.  Salt has antibacterial qualities, so its use inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria that would cause food to spoil rapidly.

When Jesus says we are the salt of the earth, He presents a very vivid picture of what the child of God should be.  He has chosen us to work with Him to spread the gospel throughout the earth.  It’s not our job to take the starring role, pointing others to us, but simply to be the seasoning that makes men want to try Him.  The picture we present to others may be the only picture they ever see of JesusIf the picture we paint is harsh, overbearing, and unloving, we may unknowingly bestow a disgusting taste in the mouths of others toward the Savior that longs to walk with them in personal relationship.

Likewise, the children of God preserve this world until Jesus comes back to earth.  In Genesis 18, Abraham is having a conversation with God concerning his nephew Lot.  Sodom and Gomorrah were to be destroyed.  Abraham asked for something that seemed so small and doable.  Would God spare the cities if only 10 righteous people could be found?  God agreed He would.  But, not even 10 were found.  Only 10 righteous would have preserved those cities from destruction.   It is God’s children that preserve this world from His wrath.

If we lose the ability to be salt, whether through indifference or misguided, unloving zeal, we become of little use.    Salt that has lost its ability to season is good for nothing, other than making a roadbed for men to trample on.   We allow our lights to shine by becoming transparent and allowing Jesus to shine through us.  Then and only then are we able to bring the truly wonderful taste of Jesus to all who know and watch us.

As the LORD began to show me these things, it made me reflect on this season of my life.  There are many things I’m sure He is teaching me.  I falter so often, and think I must be failing the test.  After all, I’m not above being irritable or on edge when the weight of these responsibilities crashes in…which seems to be far more often than I like to admit.   My irritation mostly carries over to the people that are the closest to me.  But I realize it’s my job to be salt to them as well.  I pray the LORD continues to prompt and help me be the subtle seasoning that helps others, including my family, see Him more clearly.

I believe we must examine ourselves.  What flavor does your life bring to the table?


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Responses

  1. Heather, there is no need to examie yourself. You and I are In Christ Jesus. Look to Our Lord Jesus, feed on Him ‘only’ not yourself. HE IS OUR BREAD OF LIFE. Don’t worry about not being salt for others. Our Lord God, Christ Jesus. Your faith is enough for you to latch on to HIS FAITH (CHRIST JESUS) stay in His Rest. Faith Of God. You and Your Family Have a Blessed Christmas.
    Gods Beloved
    Bonnie

    • Thanks Bonnie…hope you had a lovely Christmas yourself!

  2. Heather, that was really good. I want to be that subtle seasoning that helps others as well… whoever God brings across my path! Thanks for sharing.

    Love,
    Joni : )


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