"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, April 04, 2014

Lent Day 32 - Saturday

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
(Matthew 5:12-14)

  Last Sunday at the Tybee Church, Julie Livingston gave the Gospel Lesson from this passage in the Sermon on the Mount. This has always been one of my favorite sections of the Bible, has been the source of many of my soapbox moments and I feel one of those moments coming on. However, Julie used an illustration that simply “wowed” me and brought this verse into simple understanding. She had ordered a votive candle holder made entirely from pure salt. As she spoke, she mentioned that a friend of his wasn’t sure it was all salt, so he licked it and quickly agreed that it was definitely salt. Of course, “Doubting Jimmy” had to do the same thing and, yes, it was definitely a big chunk of pure salt. I was drinking water most of the way home that afternoon.

  Anyway, Julie talked about how we are to make the difference in our world because of the Light of Christ which burns in our lives. As she talked, she lit the candle and the salt holder began to glow with the softest, most beautiful subtle light ever seen. The holder itself was a whitish, orangish color, but when the candlelight began to shine through it, all manner of hues of red, coral, orange, beige and everything in between showed through. It was a beautiful thing. The light inside the salt made the all the difference in the light at the altar.

  We, as the Church, are to be this glowing and beautiful receptacle. The light inside is not from a simple votive candle, but from Christ himself.  We are here to show the world and people around us that there is a difference between us and them. If we live the life that God wants us to live and set the example that God wants us to set, then people will be attracted to our glow and want it for themselves. However, too often, Christians begin to water down their beliefs and faith to “fit into the world.” We begin to accept and even practice behavior, language and moral standards which the Bible speaks strongly against, because, well…we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and we disguise it with “God loves us all.” And, God DOES love us all, but He does not like, nor approve, nor accept immorality and impure actions or thoughts.

In the passage above, Jesus gave us the instructions to be the salt in this world. To be the flavoring. To be the seasoning that makes living better. Just as my french fries are intolerable without a ton of salt, so would this world be without Christians providing the seasoning of God’s Love for all. Even though all of us mess up. Christians as well as non-Christians. God still loves us and rushes to forgive us if we only ask.

There are rules in life. God gave us the rules by which to live. Rules which are not negotiable. Rules are rules. And if we obey the rules, all goes well. But, when we stretch or adapt the rules, well, sometimes we get caught and lose the game or else we have to deal with the repercussions at a future time.

During this season of Lent, I have been very struck by the inconsistency of professing Christians, with myself at the top of the list. Am I setting the standards that God would want, or do I keep quiet for the sake of avoiding conflict? I realized today that I need to continue making changes in my life so that I can be the best salt shaker possible. Regardless of the consequences. So….that’s where I am today. And, yes, I bought a salt candle holder for myself as a daily reminder.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy. Blessed be the Name of the LORD!


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