Being Salty People

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      April 3, 2016


“You are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5:13)

I find it interesting that Jesus used the present tense in teaching a large crowd of people gathered on a hillside about what it means to be a person of God’s kingdom. In the church we are more prone to talk about “becoming a disciple.” Our language indicates that it is like a destination that we haven’t reached, like driving to Alaska. In the church’s approach it’s as if Jesus said “You will some day be the salt of the earth.”

But, intentionally…without a stutter or mixing up words…Jesus said this is who you are right now. The crowd, most assuredly, would have been almost all Jewish, if not all Jewish. They knew what it meant to be Covenant-followers. They knew the Mosaic Law and the emphasis on being the holy people of God. Being the salt of the earth, however, was a new spin for them. Salt added taste, and their religion had lost its flavor. Salt preserved the essence of what had been packed in it, but the passion for and love for God had been stifled.

When Jesus tells the crowd that they are salt he’s taking them with him on a new journey. As soon as he finishes speaking to the people the scriptures tell us that he encountered a man with leprosy…one of the unclean people to avoid…and Jesus touched him. He tells him “Be clean!” And the scripture continues with these words: “Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, ‘See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’” (Matthew 8:3b-4)

Jesus didn’t discredit the Covenant of Moses. He simply dusted off the rigidness, the tastelessness, that had caused it to be mis-used.

“You are…”

Jesus was bringing the Covenant-followers to a new journey of being Christ-followers. It’s kind of like coming to Colorado and seeing the mountains, but then having someone invite you to come up with him into the mountains. Either scenario has the mountains as a part of it, but being in the mountains gives you a new perspective, a new level of intimacy and understanding.

As Christ-followers we are to be salty. Not “assaulting!” There are some Christ-followers, who although passionate, have a way of peppering their proclamation in ways that drive the herds away…like dumping the whole bottle of hot sauce on your taco! People run screaming to the water fountain!

Being salt is more about flavor, bringing flavor to a bland existence. It is a question that any church needs to be asking itself: How do we, as the salt of the earth, add flavor to this community and to the lives of people who live here?”

In my cupboard is a container of Morton Salt. Last week we feasted one night on steaks that were grilled. The salt came out and got sprinkled on the sirloin to add that little extra taste to it. To often the church is the salt in the container spending time with the rest of the salt in order to…what, make it saltier?

Being the salt of Christ means we’re touching the lives of those who need the flavor of hope and the taste of being valued.

“You are salt!”

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Jesus, love, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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