Luke 14: 34,35 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?<sup class="crossreference" value="(S)”>  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.  Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

     Prior to saying this Jesus is taking about to cost of following Him.  There is a cost to picking up your cross and following Jesus.  People must enter into discipleship knowing that it won’t be easy.  His way is narrow, hard and steep.  Those that start out on it only to abandon it because it isn’t fun or convenient haven’t counted the cost.  In modern terms being a follower of Jesus demands commitment!  You have to be worth your salt.

     Without commitment we lose our ‘saltiness’ and so become ‘useless’.  Just a few verses after making this same statement in the book of Matthew,  Jesus said; “let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)  Jesus requires us to ‘walk the talk’ rather than ‘talk the walk’!  Our actions as Christians must align with what we profess. 

     This alignment is the salt in our lives and the salt we provide the world. In the commentary, Barnes’ notes we are told; “. . .  true religion, is of vast value in the world. It keeps it pure, and saves it from corruption, as salt does meat; but a mere “profession” of religion is fit for nothing. It does no good. It is a mere encumbrance, and all such professors are fit only to be cast out and rejected.”

     What does a life of walking the talk look like?  The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) provide a clear depiction.  If we underline the key characteristic that yields each ‘blessing’ we can get a picture of the walk;  poor (v. 3), mourn (v. 4), meek (v. 5), hunger and thirst (v. 6), merciful (v. 7), pure (v. 8), peacemakers (v. 9), persecuted (v. 10), and insulted (v. 11).   This picture depicts a very hard walk – a walk of the cross, not a once a year Easter event but all year, every day!

     In the world’s eyes such a walk is the walk of a loser.  The world says ‘nice guys finish last’.  Wikipedia claims;  “The ‘nice guys finish last’ phrase is also said to be coined by American biologist Garrett Hardin to sum up the selfish gene concept of life and evolution.  This was disputed by Richard Dawkins, who wrote the book The Selfish Gene.”  Whatever the case may be, selflessness is the characteristic that brings some seasoning and good flavour to the lives of those around us.  Selflessness is what salted life ‘tastes’ like.

     Those who go about their lives striving to be selfless and struggle against their inborn selfishness provide much needed saltiness in a world of dull and grinding selfish ‘survival’.    Becoming  ‘salt’  for the world is not without its rewards.  Sometimes we forget that following Jesus does involve our cross but doesn’t stop with dying on this cross.  We will pass through to the resurrection side of the cross.  Again  the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) depict what this looks like:  kingdom (v. 3), comforted (v. 4), inheritance (v. 5), filled (v. 6),  mercy (v. 7),  will see God (v. 8), become children of God (v. 9), heaven (v. 10),  reward in heaven (v. 12).

     Jesus calls us to be committed Christians not for the sake of suffering alone but for life and life in abundance.  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10)  The world would have us believe that it is crazy to deliberately walk a path of difficulty and rejection because that is all the world can see.  Jesus tells us; “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”  (Luke 9:24)

     And in the process we spread a little salt and seasoning into a bitter world.  As with the ancient Israelites our life, as an offering to Him, is to be salted, pure and holy (Exodus 30:35, Leviticus 2:13).   Paul tells us; “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  (Colossians 4:5,6)

      Praise the Lord!

Advertisements