Dear Christian, how salty are you?
A few weeks ago, I spoke to the youth at my church on what it means for us as Christians to be the salt of the earth, as stated in Matthew 5:13. While preparing and teaching this sermon, I began to see how important it is for the Christian community in general to understand or be reminded of these simple truths. I therefore decided to publish the sermon here on my blog.
What does it mean for us to be salt in our daily interactions with others?
As we already know, salt is a crystalline substance most commonly used for seasoning or preserving food. Apparently, there are over 14,000 different uses of salt. These range from the making of products as varied as plastic, paper, glass, polyester, rubber and fertilizers, to household bleach, soaps, detergents and dyes.
Despite its many uses, I’d like to focus on only three functions of salt:
- It makes the consumer thirsty
- It adds value
- It disinfects
1. What does it mean for us as Christians to make others thirsty?
Ever notice how merely observing someone enjoying a nice cold drink, especially on a hot day, triggers the feeling of thirst in you without the person saying anything about how pleasant the drink is? TV commercials exploit this trick very often! Marketers use this trick so frequently because they understand that people are more likely to emulate what you do versus what you say. This is especially true when you appear to be enjoying the activity, or if it seems to be reaping exciting benefits for you.
As Christians, this is exactly how God calls us to live our lives. We have a responsibility to live in such a way that even without preaching verbally, people around us will have a desire to know and experience what makes us act and react the way we do. People should wonder: What makes you so happy? What makes you so peaceful? What makes you so kind? What makes you exhibit all the other traits mentioned in Galatians 5:22 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Many years ago, I learnt that we must preach the gospel at all times and only use words if necessary. That principle still resonates with me today because it fully captures the most effective way to continuously point others to the nature of Christ without even saying a word – lifestyle! If our lifestyle embodies Galatians 5:22, our words will have more impact when we open our mouths to preach.
As Christians, we must get to a place where our actions inspire unbelievers to thirst for Christ instead of making them want to run as far away from the church as possible.
2. What does it mean for us as Christians to add value to others’ lives?
As salt of the earth, we are called to bring good flavor into people’s lives. As Christians, we are not permitted to purposefully be a source of pain, anxiety, or any other kind of unpleasant condition to those around us – unless we know for a fact that any of the above would culminate in a long term good.
The Bible says in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Christ, who is God, only brings good and perfect gifts into people’s lives. Paul says in Ephesians 5:1 that we should be imitators of God, as His beloved children. So if we truly are like Christ, then we will strive to only bring good and perfect gifts into the lives of those around us. These gifts might include prayer, good counsel, financial support, material things, peace, laughter, encouragement, etc.
If you’re reading this as a Christian and you know that you are purposefully making someone’s life worse than it was when you met them, you are failing! You are supposed to be salt! You are supposed to make others’ lives better!
We must get to a place where the world identifies us as people who add value by introducing virtues instead of diminishing or destroying value by propagating vices/sin.
3. What does it mean for us as Christians to be disinfectants?
To disinfect is to clean, especially with a chemical, in order to destroy bacteria. It also means to sterilize, sanitize, purify, and decontaminate.
A Christian’s presence in anyone’s life should clean and purify them or make them want to clean and purify themselves through Christ. This simply means that when we are with others, we must be a source of good and godly ideas, godly conversations, godly actions, godly thinking. Unfortunately, many of us Christians have rather become the “trash” in our friends’ lives – the main source of bad ideas in our friendships. Every good Christian has a responsibility to sterilize, sanitize, clean, cleanse, purify, decontaminate others’ lives. When we disinfect, we create room for healing, growth, prosperity, and wellness.
Ezekiel 36:25 says "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.” If God is in the business of cleansing, then we have no right, as children of God, to be in the business of polluting.
As a Christian, do others regard you as someone who causes them to live in sin, or as someone who encourages them and helps them to live a pure life?
As long as you choose to be a Christian, you have signed a contract that requires you to be the salt of the earth. We cannot take this calling for granted because God will hold us accountable for how we impact everyone he brings into our lives.
It is my prayer that each one of us would understand and embrace this calling and that nothing will ever cause us to lose our saltiness – become tasteless – in the kingdom of God and in our relationships in Jesus’ name!
God bless you!