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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 - THE CHRISTIAN LIFE - FASHIONED FOR SERVICE!

WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER  27, 2021

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible verses are Mark 9:49-50, where Jesus says,

For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE - FASHIONED FOR SERVICE!

It’s always a challenge for me to fully understand what Jesus means in Matthew 5:13-14 when He says that believers are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” I don’t think we realize how inept, yet vital, we are to being conduits of God’s preserving and saving activity for the world. In a world of constant refrigeration because of electricity and easy illumination where the lights come on and remain on just by the flip of a switch, being called “salt” and “light” can seem rather mundane. It wasn’t and it isn’t. Just think of the ancients’ view of salt.

Homer called it divine. Plato called it a "substance dear to the gods." Shakespeare mentioned salt 17 times in his plays. Perhaps Leonard da Vinci wanted to send a subtle message about purity lost when he painted "The last Supper." In that painting an overturned salt cellar is conspicuously placed before Judas. In ancient Greece a far-flung trade involving the exchange of salt for slaves gave rise to the expression, "...not worth his salt." Special salt rations were given to Roman soldiers and known as "Solarium Argentums" the forerunner of the English word "salary." Thousands of Napoleon’s troops died during his retreat from Moscow because their wounds would not heal--their bodies lacked salt. The human body contains about 4oz. of salt. Without enough of it, muscles won’t contract, blood won’t circulate, food won’t digest and the heart won’t beat a beat. Without a doubt, salt is the essence of life. And Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth."[1]

So salt is essential! There wouldn’t be life without it. But that’s not what Jesus means when He calls us “the salt of the earth.” We’re not the ones essential for life; He is. But we can be essential bearers of His life in our lives for others. In fact, while our life with God is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the works that extend from such a faith are essential, not for ourselves, but for those whom God brings into our lives. That’s why Jesus here reminds us to “have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

In essence, then, let God fill up your life, your “salt-shaker” existence, so that you can be a “salting” presence in the lives of those whom you love and care for. Salt preserves, purifies, and adds flavor, even as it exposes our thirst. Salt heals, regulates, and promotes good health when properly used. Such is the spiritual condition of those who put their trust in the true “salt” of life, Jesus Christ. Then those who believe in Christ are fashioned for service to others IN HIS NAME. God the Father sent His Son into the world to honor the preserving work of God’s Law. Yet he also fulfilled God’s Law in our place and delivers the promised saving work of God for all through His sacrificial work on the cross. Then we are to be bearers of that salt to all whom God places in our lives. “Have salt in yourselves,” and be salty ones in Him to others. Even our speech and our lifestyles are to be “salty” for others as Paul reminds us in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Remember that receiving “salt” from Jesus Christ comes first because you can’t serve others in Christ if you haven’t first been served by Christ (note that in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the Last Supper, the salt shaker in front of Judas is empty). But see also the great honor and privilege of being part of God’s powerful work of preserving and saving the world on His Law/Gospel terms alone. The Christian life is a life fashioned in Him for service, like salt on the loose so others can be blessed.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, salt reminds us that there are created gifts in this world that make physical life possible and enjoyable. In essence, You are like the spice of life that makes spiritual life possible and wonderful even now. Let us be better conduits of such saving grace to others, as we rejoice in the very “salted” life that we have received as Your everlasting gift. AMEN.

 

[1] https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/5282/evangelism-by-terry-dashner

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