The striking and compelling "salt" metaphor used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is one of the most potentially powerful and motivating of all his admonitions to Christians. Unfortunately, evidence suggests it is also one of the most puzzling and problematic. Most serious Christians can easily explain what it means to "preach the Gospel to every creature" and what it means to "make disciples". Far fewer can explain what it means, in practical terms, to be the "salt" Jesus spoke about. Even fewer can demonstrate how they are being obedient to this admonition in their daily lives. This reality keeps the Church, God's Kingdom, from growing and maturing the way it should.

In His perfect plan, Jesus calls for all Christians to be actively, regularly and systematically involved in a minimum of three scripturally mandated activities. These might be call universal scriptural imperatives. They are for every Christian and are not options to be considered, but commands to be obeyed. The admonition to be "salt" is one of these. In His perfect plan to build his church, Jesus has structured it so that these efforts by Christians are both interrelated and interdependent. If we fail to be obedient in any one area, all the Kingdom-building effort suffers. Being "salt" prepares the way for evangelism. When we are negligent and disobedient in this area, evangelism (sharing the gospel) is much tougher. And, of course, when evangelism is unsuccessful there are fewer people to disciple. The plan is perfect but it works to perfection only as we are obedient in all three areas - being "salt", proclaiming the gospel, and making disciples.

To be the "salt" part of the plan, we must understand that it requires us to be in direct, close and regular contact with non-Christians, with the world, with our current culture. By definition, it is impossible to be "salt" Christian to Christian. To be obedient in this area, Christians must make solid, up close and meaningful contact with unbelievers. Salt retards spoilage and corruption in meat only as it comes in direct contact with the meat. The "salt" of the gospel retards the degradation of our culture only as Christians demonstrate to non-Christians the logic of a Biblical world view and the relevance of Jesus to all of life. This requires contact and relationships. Without this "salty" contact, the perfect plan works less than perfectly.

You certainly don't need to be a Christian musician, a writer or a television producer to be obedient to the admonition to be "salt". We all can do it, should do it, because we are told to do it by the One we love and serve. Some Christian musicians do, however, give us powerful examples in this regard. We should be inspired by their examples and be motivated to adapt what they do to our own life circumstances. {{Michael W. Smith}} demonstrates a "salty" obedience when he takes the risk of taking his wholesome music and lyrics into the generally hostile environment of VH1. {{Steven Curtis Chapman}} does the same when he keeps his commitment to sing about the Saviour at Disney World in spite of ill-advised boycotts by some well-meaning Christians. Among my personal "Heroes of the Salt" are the {{Vigilantes of Love}}, who deliberately choose to take their critically acclaimed and Christian-themed music into the kind of clubs where the sound of the gospel would never be heard otherwise. They do it night after night, month after month, year after year. They are heroes. The {{World Wide Message Tribe}} chooses an entirely different venue - the gritty, tough public schools of inner-city Manchester, England, to do the same thing. They also are heroes.

How are you being obedient in your own world, to the universal scriptural imperative to be "salt"? Who are the unbelieving neighbors, co-workers and/or school friends your are deliberately, regularly and systematically seeking out in order to demonstrate the relevance of Jesus for all of life? No one promised this would be easy. But we are promised that obedience brings joy. And joy is worth it all. Be "salt".