Being Salt

Whatever it was that they had, I wanted it.

They had peace and didn’t worry all the time.
They had a healthy self-esteem and felt good about themselves.
They had a special joy about them.

These things did not describe my 16-year-old self.

I had never met anyone like them before.  They made me thirsty for whatever they had that made them different.

They were salt.

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus says to His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth.”  It is a great statement of purpose for us.

saltSalt has many uses.  Actually, if you Google “uses for salt” you can find articles like “Over 60 Ways to use Salt”.  In Biblical times, it was used frequently as a preservative.  Without refrigeration and other modern ways to keep meat fresh, they used salt to keep it from rotting and smelling.  Salt also gives flavor, one of the main reasons we use it now.  I think those definitions of “salt” were included when Jesus described us as “the salt of the earth”.  We are to preserve the culture we live in and bring flavor to it.

But salt also makes a person thirsty.  And part of our purpose as Christians is to make people thirst for the gospel.

How do we do it?  Partly by how we live.  Being around someone who is joyful, peaceful, humble, kind, secure, patient, and loving is an attractive thing.  And an unusual thing.  That is a life that is rooted in the gospel and character that is produced by the Holy Spirit.  And it is what people yearn for deep inside.  Everyone wants joy and peace.  Everyone wants security.  Everyone wants to be loved unconditionally.  Seeing those things in us will make others thirst for it, a thirst that can only be satisfied in the gospel.

But we also do it with what we say.  Paul says in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  This command comes soon after a request for prayer that Paul would have open doors to share the gospel and an exhortation to the Colossians to act wisely towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  As we interact with people, we need to use words of grace and truth, words that let people know why we are different, words that include the gospel.  It’s not that we are just unusually nice people.  It’s all because of Christ.

I’m thankful that my friends didn’t just live a different, appealing life.  They also included me in it and explained it to me.  I remember standing in the band room one day (we were in marching band together) and my friend, Chuck, asking me, “Have you ever heard of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”  “No,” I replied.  “I haven’t.”  I started attending a Christian club at the school with them and going to Bible studies, and that Fall, I got it.  By the grace of God, I understood the gospel and received Christ, and my life changed forever.

When I look back at that time, I know that deep down I was thirsting for Christ before I met my friends.  I not only was lost – I felt lost.  But being around my friends brought it close to the surface and, more importantly, also led me to the answer for my deepest thirsts.  When I pray for people who don’t know Christ, one thing I pray is that God will bring people into their lives who will be salt and who will make them thirst to know Him.

All of this reminds me that I need to be sure about my own “saltiness”.  Who knows – maybe I am the answer to someone else’s prayer for their friend or family member!  Do people see a difference in me?  Does my life make others thirst for what I have – the gospel?  What about your co-workers?  Do you seem different or just like everyone else in the office?  What would it look like to be salt there?  Being patient in the midst of a stressful situation?  Being kind to others when they make a mistake?  Sobering questions but important ones.  How I pray I will make others thirst for Jesus!

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