Jesus says that believers are "salt to the world" (Matthew 5:13 NEB). Our very presence halts corruption . . . and preserves society.
Salt is also a healing agent. And it creates a thirst. It adds flavor, increasing the delectable taste of most foods. Salt is amazingly beneficial . . . "but." Don't miss that little word in verse 13. Jesus adds, "But if the salt has become tasteless" (meaning, "if the salt has lost its bite, its uniqueness"), "It is no longer good for anything" (5:13). Jesus introduces not an imaginary warning but a real one. Take away the Christian's distinctive contribution, and nothing of worthwhile value remains. We become "no longer good for anything," exactly as the Lord put it (5:13).
We must do a work of preservation . . . or we lose our influence and become as insignificant as a layer of dust on city streets. Servant, take heed!
Think about these three practical, positive aspects of salt. First, salt is shaken and sprinkled . . . not poured. It must be spread out. Too much salt ruins food. A good reminder for Christians to spread out rather than stay huddled all together. Second, salt adds flavor . . . but it's obscure. No one ever comments, "My, this is good salt." We frequently say, however, "The food is really tasty." Servants add zest to life, a flavor impossible to achieve without them. Third, salt is unlike any other seasoning. Its difference, however, is its strength. It can't be duplicated, and it must be applied before it is useful. Salt in the saltshaker does nobody any good!
I want to be quite direct with you. Secular thought has taken a tragic toll on the servant of God's distinctiveness. This has begun to influence the church of Jesus Christ. Many a believer has surrendered his or her mind to the world system. The uniquely Christian mind, therefore, is a rare find. Humanism, secularism, intellectualism, and materialism have invaded our thinking to such a marked degree that our salt has become diluted—in some cases, nonexistent.
Influenced and impressed by the press, our secularized system of education, shallow social expectations, and the quasi-omnipotent forces of conformity to peer pressure (not to mention the impact of television and movies), Christian servants can be easily caught in the trap. We can literally stop thinking biblically and stop shaking salt.
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