Hold the Sugar . . . Pass the Salt!
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
Has it ever occurred to you that Jesus never told you to become salt? In Matthew 5:13, He tells us that we are the salt of the earth. Some Christians, on the other hand, have the wrong impression; they think we're supposed to be the sugar of the earth. Although both are seasonings, they serve very different purposes.
I remember when I taught my kids how to eat oatmeal—not the instant, pre-packaged kind, but the real thing. At first they turned up their noses and refused to eat it. That is, until I sprinkled brown sugar over the top and added milk to the mix. Then they ate three bowls apiece! Why the sudden change? Because they knew it would be sweet. They said, "Dad, this is good. I can taste the sugar." Well, who doesn't love sugar?!
But salt is different from sugar in that it can create intense thirst, prevent decay, cleanse, flavor, and preserve, but never sweeten. Now, I'm not suggesting that Christians shouldn't be sweet—that's an obvious pursuit.
However, in 2 Timothy 3:12-13, Paul says: "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived," reminding the believer that the world will want to be rid of us. Christ says the same thing in John 15:20, when He claims, "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also." Being salt is a lot more dangerous than being sugar!
Just as salt can draw attention to food, Christians can draw attention to sin. The world hates being held accountable. Our message only tastes good to those who wish to be cleansed from sin and preserved from everlasting death, not to those who hate God. We make them thirstier for a happiness they can't find, and more aware of the sin they try to hide. No wonder the world prefers something that tastes sweet . . . a message that's sugar-coated.
At the same time, the world needs salt even though it doesn't want it. Through our ministry as saltshakers, many will come to the knowledge of the truth.
It isn't surprising that salt was meant for sprinkling, not collecting. Our churches tend to become boxes of salt, which is good for keeping our flavor intact, but not for spreading it around. The world can't be reached from inside the church. As one author said, "We need to get out of the salt box and into the world."
Let's take our mission to heart and our message to the world, even if people do prefer sugar . . . to salt!
Prayer Point: Have you backed away from sharing your faith because you haven't been too well-received? Have you upset someone by your message regarding Christ, the cross, sin, and forgiveness? Ask the Lord to help you identify someone today who needs the salt of truth.
Extra Refreshment: Read Matthew 5.
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