The Salt Needs to Get Salty Again
As I’ve been doing interviews on Saving a Sick America, the same question comes up over and again: What role does the Church play in America’s moral and spiritual decline? The answer is simple: A major role!
It’s really not hard to explain.
When I check into a hotel at night, the first thing I do is look for the light switch. If I flip the switch on and nothing happens, I don’t get mad at the darkness. I say to myself, “What’s the matter with the light?”
That’s the real question we need to ask ourselves: What’s the matter with the light — meaning, what’s the matter with our light, with our witness, with our lives?
“You are the Salt of the Earth”
Consider carefully the words of Jesus. At the beginning of His famous Sermon on the Mount, He said, “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” (Matt. 5:13).
And what if we lose our distinctiveness? The Lord’s warning is loud and clear: we will “be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
Scholars have noted that there were several different uses for salt in the ancient world, but one use was preserving and other was flavoring. Both of those speak to our role in society as followers of Jesus: We are called to be a moral preservative and we are to “flavor” the world with the words and ways of God.
And what if we lose our distinctiveness? What if we are just like the world around us? The Lord’s warning is loud and clear: we will “be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
We will be disregarded, ignored, considered irrelevant, mocked, ridiculed and despised. Sound familiar?
What’s interesting is that in the three verses before this, Jesus spoke to us, His followers, about being persecuted for righteousness, saying, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matt. 5:11).
Thrown Out and Trampled Under Foot
So, there’s an opposition we face for doing good, for standing out, for speaking the truth, for being identified with Jesus. That’s a healthy opposition, and we should rejoice when it comes our way.
It’s another thing entirely to “be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet,” but that’s largely where we find ourselves today in America. Why? Because we have thought that the way to win the world was to become like the world. Not so! We win the world by becoming like Jesus.
We have believed that we should blend in and not rock the boat, showing the non-believers around us that we’re no different than they are. But while it’s important to be contributing members of the society, and while we’re called to be peacemakers not troublemakers, we are also called to swim against the tide and go against the grain. We are called to show the world a better way
Sadly, many Christian leaders have put more emphasis on discovering what’s trending in society than learning what’s on God’s heart. In their quest to become relevant, they have become irrelevant.
The World Can See That We’re Different
Getting back to Jesus, He said,
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. (Matt. 5:14-16)
What strong but promising words. We cannot be hidden, for better or for worse. What kind of impact are we having? Is our light penetrating the darkness or is the darkness dimming our light?
What’s interesting is that the world still expects us to be different. They know it’s wrong when our leaders commit sexual immorality and financial fraud. “You’re a bunch of hypocrites,” the world says. When we don’t care for the poor and hurting, the world asks us, “Why not?” And they’re right to challenge us like this.
But to me, that’s partly a good thing since, again, it means that the world knows we’re supposed to be different. And different, by God’s grace and in the best sense of the word, we must be.
It’s Time to Get Salty Again
D.A. Carson had this to say about our calling to be the salt of the earth:
The point is that, if Jesus’ disciples are to act as a preservative in the world by conforming to kingdom norms, if they are “called to be a moral disinfectant in a world where moral standards are low, constantly changing, or non-existent … they can discharge this function only if they themselves retain their virtue.” (Carson was quoting R.V. Tasker here.)
That, in short, is our calling. It’s time to get salty again. It’s time to let our lights shine.
If we concentrate on this, rather than cursing the darkness, our nation will be changed for the better.