Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Good Salt, Bad Salt
Matt. 5:13 ¶ “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
Here we are listening in on Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” His description of those who are his followers is telling. We are the salt of the earth. As such we are to be good salt — the kind that is used to season food. Good salt makes most everything better. But bad salt, after it’s gone bad can’t be made good again. Bad salt was used in the Temple on days in which the floors became too slick from the rain to provide traction so that you wouldn’t fall. Therefore good salt is sprinkled around and makes all things tasty while the bad salt is simply walked upon and eventually washed away by the rain.
I was watching a news report the other day about an incident that happened a number of years ago in Louisiana. An oil company was drilling for oil that was beneath a lake. Unfortunately they had miscalculated where to drill and drilled right into a salt dome and opened up a hole into a salt mine. The lake began to drain into the salt mine below, but not only did it drain into the mine, but the salt attracted the water and became hyper-saturated, dissolving into the water and making the water and the salt unusable. Actually the situation became much worse. Within a few hours the entire lake drained into the salt mine, along with barges and an entire island. Then a geyser began to blow out of the salt mine shaft and the entire thing became a major ecological disaster — one which could not be repaired or corrected. Once the salt was ruined, it was ruined and the trickle down effect was devastating.
We are salt. As followers of Jesus Christ we are to be pristine salt that is providing a savory difference in the lives of those around us on a daily basis. We are to be genuine salt, salt which when sprinkled around makes the world a better place. But Jesus was talking to those who were his followers and I believe it was a gentle but understandable warning. Just because you have been a follower of Jesus Christ there is the possibility that you can go from being good salt to bad salt. And this can happen in one big hurry if we are not careful. When our focus shifts from the love of God and others to ourselves our salt becomes quickly contaminated and a domino effect of consequences can occur. This can happen when we make decisions based on what we want, or based on our own fears, instead of trusting God for the results. It’s like the oil company drilling in the wrong place, we can trigger something that can become utterly devastating not just for ourselves but for all of those standing around and watching in horror.
We must take care of our salty state. We must make sure that we do not become diluted by temptations around us and this is only possible when we allow God to take care of us. He knows the best way to keep salt savory and that is when we are in relationship with him on a daily basis. Every day when we face the challenges that come our way God can keep us safe and salty!
The picture is pretty clear for us, when our salt is ruined we no longer become useful in the kingdom. This grips my heart. How terrible it would be to go from serving God in the kingdom and allow carelessness to bring us to a place where we are no longer of any good to God and we are simply used to provide traction on a slippery day, finally to be washed away into the drain and never seen again.
If it is our desire to be good salt, then we must ask God by his grace to keep us in that place of saltiness. If we give in to the temptation to control and manipulate our circumstances we may find ourselves like the men on the oil rig, drilling in the wrong place and creating a mess. The world desperately needs to be seasoned by the saltiness of Jesus’ disciples today. May God gives us his grace to remain good salt.
Lord, I want to be good salt for you today. Please, help me to be faithful. Amen.