My son and I went out to eat recently and he asked if he could order dessert and I said yes. It is a special treat to order dessert as I don’t usually let him and so he ordered a good-looking dessert that was composed of chocolate cake, ice cream, whipped cream, and caramel sauce. When it came to our table it was actually a dessert for two and so I got to enjoy a little of it too. This chocolate dessert had great eye appeal and I was excited to taste the first bite which consisted of a combination of cake and ice cream. Mmmmmm delicious! I slowly enjoyed it and marveled at how tasty it was. Second bite was taken with great anticipation and so was the third and so on. Funny thing happened though, with each succeeding bite the dessert lost flavor and it wasn’t long until I felt that I didn’t want to eat any more of it. My son was happy to eat the rest of it all by himself. I pondered this experience as I was preparing for bed that night and wondered why the cake seemed to have lost its appeal and then it hit me, it lost it’s flavoring in the mix of all the other flavors that were going on. I thought of this Bible passage.
“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. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16, (English Standard Version or ESV).
Many of you may recognize this passage as being a part of the Sermon on the Mount given by Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. He was talking to the Jewish people and about the Jewish nation. The entire world knew about the God of the Jewish nation, the God of Israel. God had made His name known among all the peoples of the earth in various ways. Everyone knew about how the Israeli God led them to the Promised Land from Egypt (Joshua 2:18-13). Everyone knew about the wisdom given to King Solomon by his God (1 Kings 10:1). The nation of Israel had a reputation of being protected by a powerful God not to be messed with. And what about the sailors who threw Jonah overboard, they certainly knew the Jewish God was powerful and they worshiped Him too (Jonah 1:14-16). Yes the Jewish nation had been the salt of the earth and the light on the lampstand showing the world that God was with them as long as they remained faithful to God. But there were times in their history when they lost favor with God because they no longer acknowledged His commands and God would deal with them harshly. I guess you could say that they lost their saltiness and were not a good witness for God in the world. Kind of like the cake and ice cream dessert lost its flavor after a few bites and I just didn’t want any more of it. Jesus knew that the Jewish people were losing their witness to the world but it didn’t stop Him from trying to rekindle the fire for God in their hearts. I admire that about Jesus because He didn’t want to see this nation be judged for not recognizing Him as the Son of God. We can all relate. I have family and friends that I don’t want to see judged and found unworthy to be in Heaven as I am sure you do as well. Yet there is little we can do for them except to pray for them and ask God to work in their lives in such a way that they will see Him and hopefully acknowledge Him and repent and become a follower of Jesus. And yet that is the most powerful thing we can do for them because we are shining light upon them to help them find their way to Jesus and salvation. We are like the flavoring of salt added to food to give it a good flavor or salt used in preserving meat to be eaten at a later date. We who follow Jesus and are Christians are the nation that points the way to salvation so don’t lose your flavor or snuff out your light!
I have often thought about how horrible this world would be without the church in it. Think about it for a moment. The Christians are the ones who keep goodness in the world. The Christians are the ones who keep hope alive. The Christians are the ones who continue to show God’s love to everyone. The Christian is the one who forgives others and lives a life of forgiveness. If Christians were removed from the earth, and one day we will be, the world would be a much darker place, a place that would be much more evil and unpleasant. As much as the world hates Christianity it is the light in us, the saltiness of our faith that keeps goodness and righteousness in this world. Evil is always dark but God is always light and Christians are shining lights in this world. We are what holds the flavor of enjoyment in this world. I just love that, don’t you? Kindness, forgiveness, and love are taught and are passed on from one generation to another. Our world needs more Christians passing along kindness, forgiveness, and love I think.
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:34-35, (ESV).
If Christians lose their flavor then they are of no further use to the Kingdom of God. Salt can’t be restored once it goes flat. When salt is no longer effective to flavor food or preserve food it has to be thrown away and becomes part of the dirt that covers the earth. We must keep our faith active and continue to pray and hope and love. The warning is clear to those who hear it.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:42-50, (ESV).
Yes the warning is clear. When Christians lose flavor they twist the Gospel into something that is no longer truthful. That is called heresy and you don’t ever want to be judged as a heretic. Stay salty and full flavored, don’t lose your flavor dear Christian. How can we be sure that we are staying salty? Are you reading the Bible daily? Are you doing what the Bible says to do? Are you loving to the people in your life? Are you looking for ways to show God’s love to those you may never meet here on earth? Are you attending church and actively participating in the local church as well as in the global church through mission projects? Do you financially support your local church? Are you humble and a servant to those around you? Then you are taking the warning seriously. Stay flavorful dear Christian and don’t lose your saltiness.