Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Shepastor: "How Salty Are You?"

50 “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?[a] Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:50 NRSV

13 “You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Leviticus 2:13 NRSV

The young people of today have a phrase, “Ahh he or she is ‘salty!’” When they say that, they are suggesting that the person is upset or “ticked off” because of this or that.

In Mark 9, Jesus was telling his followers to be “salty…” Not ticked off, but filled with the flavor of God in the midst of a tasteless world. Jesus used salt to illustrate three qualities that should be found in God’s people:

(1) We should remember God’s faithfulness. In Leviticus 2: 13, God’s people were instructed not to bring a sacrifice without salt. Salt was a reminder of the Covenant God had with His people. In Arab countries, an agreement was sealed with a gift of salt to show the strength and permanence of the contract. Salt was used to remind God’s people that they were one with Him – a covenant people who actively help to preserve and purify the world.

Salt was also a symbol of God’s activity in their lives because it penetrates, preserves, cleanses and aids in healing. God wants to be active in our lives. He wants to become a part of all that we are. God wants to penetrate every aspect of our lives, preserving us from the evil, corrupt, tasteless and destructive ways of the world. As does salt, God wants to heal and cleanse us from our own sins and shortcomings.

(2) The second quality that Jesus suggests should be found in God’s people, using this illustration of salt is we should make a difference in the ‘flavor’ of the world we live in. Just as salt changes meat’s flavor, our presence, our attitude, our behavior should make a difference for the better wherever we go. Where people are complaining and arguing, our presence should influence grace and peace, level headedness and calm. Where there is worry and fear, our presence should bring faith, hope and God’s blessed assurance. Where there is hatred and bitterness, our presence should influence love and forgiveness. As the people of God, our “flavor” should make a difference in bland and tasteless places.

(3) The third and final quality using this illustration of salt given by Jesus is the people of God should counteract the moral decay in society. Just as salt preserves food from decay, we are to “salt” the world with the message of God’s love, God’s grace, and God’s redemption made available through Jesus. Jesus is saying to us when we no longer give that message, live that message, show forth that message with our lives, we become useless to the Kingdom of God. In other words, if we lose our unique character as a Christian, if we blend right in with the rest of the world, if we are ashamed to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if we walk, talk, live, behave, sin, cheat, lie, steal, fornicate, adulterate, gossip, slander, abuse, mistreat, hate, cuss, you name it like the world – just like the world, no different than the world, then we are useless to the Kingdom!

How salty are you? Are you salty like the kids describe – easily offended, easily angered, twisting and bobbing your head ready to tell folks off salty? Or are you salty like Jesus suggests – living your life like a Kingdom citizen, showing forth the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, humble, not easily offended or angered, persevering, enduring.

How salty are you?

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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