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Salt

  

It should be evident, even to the most oblivious and uninformed person on the earth that the world is in trouble. Every sort of evil – abortion, child abuse, adultery, rape, murder, selfishness, hatred, greed, sexual immorality, and divorce, to name a few–abounds, and in some cases are looked upon favorably or as an acceptable social norm.

With all of this corruption and immorality, it has been the response of many Christians to fear the world and its evils and retreat into the safety of the Christian subculture that has emerged as a result. We have our own music, our own movies, our own books, our own colleges, and our own social groups to shield us from the world around us. We have created a Christian bubble, and few dare to step out of it.

And why should we? After all, it is much safer to stay in our little bubble, rather than stand up for truth and face the evils of the world head on.

But an important question to ask ourselves is; where would Jesus be? Would he be in our bubble, joining us as we distance ourselves from and complain about the world, or would he be out in the world bringing truth and light to the dark places?

In his most notable ethical discourse, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says to his disciples:

“”You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)

As followers of Jesus today, this statement applies to us. We too are the salt of the earth. And if we lose our saltiness, we are useless and good for nothing-except to be thrown out!

So maybe it is a good thing after all for us to inhabit our Christian bubble and not mingle with the world–to stay within the bounds our own Christian subculture, lest we become tainted and lose our “saltiness.” Maybe Jesus would approve of our bubble after all.

However, there is yet another aspect of salt that we must examine, and we may need to rethink our perception of salt. When most of us Westerner’s think of salt, our minds are immediately drawn to those blue boxes emblazoned with the brandname “MORTON.” These boxes inhabit our cupboards and rarely make an appearance into the outside world, except to occasionally refill a shaker.

However, the salt that remains in the box is of little value. In order to be an agent of preservation, capable of cleansing and retarding spoilage, salt must leave the box and come in contact with its object. Likewise, salt left sitting in its shaker can do nothing to improve the flavor of one’s food-the food will remain tasteless and bland for as long as the salt stays in the shaker.

I would argue that the modern Christian church is much like that box of salt- full of agents capable of preserving and seasoning, but trapped in a box and stored safely away in the cupboard. Or in our case, a church building.

It appears that since Jesus has called us the “salt of the earth,” that he did not want us to remain in our bubble and withdraw ourselves from the world.

In fact, his prayer to the Father in John 17:15-16 reflects this:

“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

Jesus did not pray for us to be removed from the world. Rather, he prayed that we would be protected from the enemy as we live in the world and be salt and light to a dark and flavorless society.

This is not to say that we are one with the world or even ought to be, for our citizenship is in heaven. Therefore, we may be in the world, but we are not of it. We are called to live by a higher standard and to live out of who we are, citizens of heaven, and exhibit the culture of heaven on the earth.

By living out life on the earth as those who ascribe to the ways and laws of heaven, we would most certainly retard the spoilage of society and bring a distinctive and attractive flavor to the world- but only if we get out of our box. We have been given forgiveness through Christ, a restored relationship with our Creator, and the hope of everlasting life in the kingdom of God. We have also been given insight into God’s laws and ways, which produce justice, righteousness, peace, joy, love, gentleness, patience, and kindness in the lives of those who obey God’s commands by the Spirit of God.

This is certainly be a welcome and altogether attractive alternative for those who are struggling through their daily lives as captives of sin, without God and without hope in the world. But there is no way that they will know or see that there is another way, unless we begin to permeate the popular culture with godly values and alternatives.

That means getting involved and influencing the popular culture, rather than simply retreating to our own subculture. For those gifted in a particular area, perhaps writing or art or music or film, it is time to start thinking of ways to permeate secular culture with godly values, instead of always “preaching to the choir.” While it is true that the choir needs preaching to, so does the rest of the world. For those with a business, perhaps you could begin incorporating biblical principles and Scriptures into your business practices. Or maybe if you are an employee, consider finding ways that you can live out your kingdom lifestyle at work in a way that is evident to all.

We have all been given different gifts and interests, so let’s find ways to use them for the glory of God, both within the Christian subculture and without. As Jesus says in Matthew 5:16:

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

As salt, we are certainly not called to retreat, but rather to engage. To live on the earth, but not be of the world. It’s time to get out of our shakers, folks, and start praying for God to show us how we can influence the culture of the world with the culture of the kingdom. As we being to move, people will most certainly being to see that Christianity – truly following Christ because of the gospel of the kingdom – is the relevant solution that this desperate world needs.

 

 

  

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