SPICE IT UP OR SALT IT UP?
At the time when Jesus spoke these words, unlike today, salt was a very precious commodity. Yes, salt added spice and made things tasty, but salt was also essential for life because it preserved things. If something was precious, it was said to be “worth its salt.” That would be like saying, “It’s worth its weight in gold.” You see, salt didn’t just spice things up like it does today. Salt actually prevented good things from fading away or decaying. Before refrigeration, salt was the main ingredient which preserved food. It draws water out of the bacteria that causes food’s decay, making the bacteria shrivel and die so that essential foods can be preserved. In our lesson today, Jesus tells us that his disciples are salt and light in the world in which we live.
Now being light is something that I think many Christians understand. We are to reflect the light of Christ through our lives into the lives of others. We are to love as Christ loves us. We are to forgive as Christ forgives. We are to serve as Christ serves. As His people, we are to be about the task of sharing His words, His message, His life on His terms for all. But what about this “salt” thing? I don’t think we understand or take that work as seriously as we ought. In fact, if you don’t act as “salt,” you may not be sharing the light of Christ effectively either. Let me explain.
Being Christ’s people for others is a “salt and light” thing; it’s a “Law and Gospel” thing. We are called to proclaim the fullness of God’s Law and the fullness of His Gospel so that people might repent and be saved. That’s the message. That’s the opportunity. That’s the work. We proclaim God’s ordering of the world through His Law which preserves like salt, even as it also exposes people to their need for God’s forgiveness and light. As salt, Christians are to proclaim God’s ordering of the world as we engage issues like these: honoring father and mother, the sanctity of all life, the biblical view of sex and marriage, the right and responsible use of private property, avoiding bearing false witness, protecting our neighbor’s name and public character, and striving to be content with what we have instead of coveting the things of others. While those messages won’t ultimately save, they can preserve our sinful world from chaos. More importantly, they can also expose our sinful world to its spiritual condition as God’s law reveals our desperate need for His gracious salvation.
I hear all the time that the biblical message is passé, a word for a time long gone. I chuckle at that since our world is more disordered and confused than it has ever been! When Christians proclaim the Law of God, they “salt” the world with God’s word. That’s a good thing, especially in service to the proclamation of the Gospel. So let loose the preserving, ordering word of God in your life and also pour it into the lives of those whom you love and serve. That preserving word will really spice up life, especially when it leads them to acknowledge their need for the gracious work of Jesus for them. Salt and light -- what a way to live!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, when we trust in the totality of Your word, it often causes us to be “out of step” with the world in which we live. Give us the courage to be people of Your word even then, especially as we act as salt and light for the sake of others. AMEN