The Salt of the Earth

As we saw in the last post, preparation is a concept that is essential to the Christian life. And we’re not just talking about budget planning here. We’re not just talking about checking the oil in the minivan before you go on a road trip. It’s about discipleship. The kind of preparation that’s talked about in Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Be disciplined in you actions and use your time wisely. Prepare yourself for the work as a disciple of the Living Christ for you do not know what study or action you take today that might affect your work in the Kingdom tomorrow. In the same way that taking up a cross prepares someone to be crucified, so preparing and disciplining yourself prepares you to be used by God. And while its easy to talk about memorizing the Roman Road or carrying around a pocket New Testament for witnessing, Jesus shows us just a glimmer of the kind of preparation He’s capable of as he reaches deep into the heritage of his disciples—and His own. His preparation for this moment—and everything else He did—reach back into eternity.

For none of us can comprehend the vast amount of planning that goes into calling an entire universe into being. Yet God did so with just a few commands and a symbolic day of rest. With just a little imagination we can think about the premeditation that went into this passage of scripture. Crafting the human body as he has to use salt as part of the intricate electrolyte balance—homeostasis or the balance in the body of chemical reactions and hormones and temperature control and a thousand other little adjustments made daily to keep our bodies running just so. The minute arranging of atoms…a sodium here a few chlorine there and you have NaCl2—plain old salt. Placing that salt in just the right places so that humans could discover it and use it. It becomes a valuable resource in Jewish life—as it is in anyone’s life.

“Salt” we are told in Mark 9:50 “is good,” and then Jesus asks us a question that we must answer if we are to be His disciples, “but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again?” How can you participate in the work if you have not made yourselves ready? How can you share a verse with someone if you never learned it? With regard to tragedy in our own lives, how can you comfort someone if you’ve never had a need to be comforted? If you’ve never ridden a bicycle, how can you jump on a Harley and take a road trip? God prepares us and there are things we do to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. Namely, obey the Word of God, something which is impossible to do if we don’t work it into our lives day by day.

Now I know that some are reading this going “Man, that’s a stretch.” But it makes sense in the overall context of this passage. This same idea is repeated in Luke 14:34, which I quoted above. Matthew 5:13 says “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” And this is right at the front end of the Sermon on the Mount—which deals with Christian living if anything does. How we are to look and act if we are to be a Christian and follow after Christ. The other two places where it is used in this fashion in Colossians 4:6, James 3:11-12 support this as well. Colossians 4:5-6 caps it off nicely: “5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” And we know that salt is the Word of God.

One more to come I think…

    Other Posts In This Series:

1. The Asking
2. Good ol’ Gamaliel
3. You Just Thought I Missed It
4. Millstones Don’t Float
5. Preparation
6. The Salt of the Earth
7. Lazy Boy


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