Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Have You Lost Your Saltiness?

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

We know salt is essential for living. About 1/2 of a percent of our body weight is made up of salt. The easiest way we lose salt is through sweating it out. When I have run marathons and sweat a lot, I literally had salt on the outside of my running shirt. I was also prone to de-hydration in my life. When I played in sports I got a de-hydrated a couple of times. It was not fun. My breathing became very rapid, and it was a very scary feeling. Luckily we had a friend over who was a doctor and he spotted it was dehydration. He had me down two big bottles of Gatorade, and eventually I stabilized.

We know in Jesus' day that salt was very important as well. Since they didn't have the sophisticated mining tools and didn't take salt out of the ocean water, the supply was very low. Also salt needed to preserve meat, since they did not yet have refrigeration. Finally, similar as today, salt was used to flavor food for enjoyment and taste.

So with those thoughts in my mind, Jesus uses this metaphor for the disciples. He tells them they are the salt of the earth, and if these lose their saltiness they are good for nothing except to be trampled upon. You may ask why would salt be trampled on? In Jesus' day, salt was mixed with other materials you create a kind of plaster used for roofs. As the material lost it saltiness, the roof was not useful anymore, except be thrown on the floor and as something to walk on.

Jesus is using this metaphor right after the "beatitudes" such as, blessed are the "peacemakers", "the poor in spirit" and "the meek". So clearly Jesus is pointing out that these are the ways that the disciples would become the salt of the earth. But what I think is important for us today is that Jesus is clear that his disciples are to be change agents. We are meant to season, flavor, and preserve a world that is rotting.

Many Christians would be content to stay in the "salt shaker", which is safe and cozy. There is only one problem with that, Jesus didn't give us that option. Why would Jesus redeem us by his work on the cross. Send us the Holy Spirit to continue through us the work he started, and then want us to hide out in our local church. Jesus called us and sent us out to proclaim the Good News in word and deed. So the question for all of us today is "have we lost our saltiness"? Are we flavoring or preserving anything?

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