The "Salt Test"
You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
In a previous message, I shared some insights about the late J. C. Penney, a remarkable man and a personal friend.
Penney believed in doing business according to the words of our Lord and the principles of the Golden Rule. To Penney, the Golden Rule represented more than a marketing strategy. It represented his deep philosophical and religious beliefs learned from his father, a Baptist minister. As an expression of the Golden Rule, he insisted on offering customers quality merchandise at the lowest possible prices. Eventually the Golden Rule name he used was phased out and the stores were named JCPenney.
For many years, Penney was active in a church layman's movement and made many appearances before churches and laymen's groups stressing the importance of applying the Golden Rule to the everyday tasks of business.
But Penney also believed in a unique executive hiring criterion: the "salt test."
When selecting new managers, the founder of one of the nation's largest retail chains often took the candidates out to eat where he scrutinized their behavior. Many passed the inspection, but others were disqualified by violating Penney's cardinal rule: "Never salt your food before tasting it."
Salting before tasting, Penny believed, revealed the flaw of making decisions without information. If you are going to use a strong flavor enhancer, he reasoned, you must first know your food.
Of course, using salt as a hiring test is a debatable methodology, yet we can agree with J.C. Penny on at least this much: Salt changes the taste of what it touches.
Salt is not neutral. It adds flavor and appeal. It penetrates and transforms the character of food. As a preservative, it prolongs the life of food which otherwise would perish.
This is what our Lord had in mind when he said to His followers: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men" (Matthew 5:13, NIV).
As the "salt of the earth," we Christians have the power to change the world. By being Christ's witnesses and salt, we can help influence the flavor of people's lives and enhance their relationships. We can help preserve morality in a decaying society.
Let us not lose our saltiness and be trampled by the world's philosophies and values, but instead, like salt, let us penetrate and transform the character of life around us.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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