Devotion: Monday, September 9, 2019
Welcome to “Word from the Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 14:34-35 where Jesus says,
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
SALT AND LIGHT – GET THE PICTURE?
Have your heard people say things like these: “There’s a culture war and we’re losing it.” “There’s a culture war and it’s already lost.” “There is no culture war today, get over it.” I’ve heard various renditions of each of the above in my work as the Lutheran Hour Speaker, as a church planter in Dallas, NYC, and LA (evangelist work), and even now in my First Amendment, religious liberty work in Washington D.C. (really more of a protector work for the church’s right to be the church in public square). My answer to each statement is, “I don’t care if we are winning or losing the culture wars.” God’s concern is more about this: “Are you engaging the culture and community in which you live ON HIS TERMS for the sake of the Gospel?” That’s it! Are we engaging the culture His way? Remember, that engagement is two-fold. It’s a Two Kingdoms way, it’s both a “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” approach (Matthew 22:21). To that end, we are to be like salt and light. We are to be about God’s preserving and saving work. We don’t get to pick and choose. We get to be His people on His terms for the sake of our community, our culture, our nation, and our world.
Today Jesus reminds us that we are to be the salt of the world. Salt does make things taste better, that’s true. But in this instance, I think that it’s more about salt’s preserving power. Salt was the refrigeration of the ancient world. If you wanted something to last, salt it up! Salt meant that the food would last past the cycles of the seasons. Salt meant that you could take food on a trip and feed armies on their campaigns. Salt and gold were the means of wealth for those in the ancient world because they sustained temporal life.
Elsewhere, Jesus tells those who follow Him, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). He thereby enables us to do that preserving work that orders the world, even preparing sinful, human hearts to hear the Good News of the Gospel. God indeed orders our world. He created us, male and female. He defines what it means to be human. He gives moral purpose and direction to human relationships among one another and ultimately with Him. He preserves, in spite of our rebellion and sin. He protects so that all may truly hear how He saves. Christians engage the moral issues of the day to point out that such discussions involve a higher authority. They involve enduring realities that all people are called to receive. Salt it up, but then realize that even that penultimate perspective serves God’s ultimate work of proclaiming His saving work in Jesus; He alone is the light and the salvation of the world that will decay without Him. Preserve, protect, and proclaim! They are all part of the Christian life. Why? Because Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness and give salvation as a gift! We get to be a part of His solution not just for ourselves, but for others too. It’s a salt and light thing; get the picture?
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, it’s tough to proclaim Your authority to order and direct the world morally when I’m broken too. Give me courage to speak nonetheless, knowing that while there’s no boasting in being a sinner like everyone else, there’s no limit to boasting about a Savior to sinners like YOU. AMEN.