Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SALT AND LIGHT

Sermon on the mount (pt 11)

Useless salt.
Hidden light.

Both might as well be non-existent, for neither serve any practical purpose whatsoever.

SALT
Salt that has not lost its savor is useful for a variety of purposes:
  • Preservation of food
  • cleansing
  • therapy 
  • flavor
  • draw water out of food
  • traction on icy steps.

From a chemist’s point of view, salt is very stable. It is a compound of two elements, sodium and chlorine, that are quite happy to share their electrons.

When added to water, no discernible chemical reaction occurs. There is simply a mixture. (You do remember your high school chemistry, don’t you? The difference between a solution and a mixture?)

Salt merely gives up its crystalline form when added to water. It is then free to roam about with much more space.

The only way for salt to become “non-salt” is for a chemical reaction to occur.

So, what did Jesus mean when He said,
You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Mat 5:13)

Obviously, losing its savor is not the same as losing its saltiness.
It has lost the ability to function as salt, but it is still salt.

Down here on the Gulf Coast, we have beautiful white beaches. Much of the beach is sand, but there is a large portion of every bucketful that is salt.

It is a mixture of sand and salt.

You would not want to bottle this up and shake it out on your food.
It has lost its savor.
It is polluted.

God’s people have a long history of polluting themselves.

Jer 2:23     Jer 3:2     Jer 34:16     Lam 4:14     Eze 14:11     Eze 20:13  
Eze 20:16     Eze 23:30   Zep 3:4     Mal 1:7     Jer 7:30     Eze 13:19  
Eze 20:31     Eze 20:39     Eze 44:7

Polluted salt is “thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13c)

If I am the salt of the earth, then I cannot afford to become polluted.
None of us can.
     But, we have.
          A little at a time.
               With a little wink.
                    Letting it slide.
                         A small compromise. 

The result? A lack of saltiness.

We are of no use to the world in a compromised position. We cannot preserve, protect, heal, or cleanse unless we are pure from any pollution.

LIGHT
And we can be of no use to the world stuck away and hidden in some corner of our community singing about how lucky we are to no longer be in the world.

We are light—the light of the world. The light by which it sees its way.

However, if we keep our light hidden under the roof our so-called churches, then there is no way for our light to penetrate the darkness.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with church, my church, your church, going to church or any of the other things one might conjure up in their imagination.
I love the church.
I love the local church of which I am a part.
I love being with the family of God.
Sometimes I feel as if I could spend my entire week with those who make up our local body of believers.

But, that would be hiding the light.

I also like being out in the community buying things, helping people, brightening someone’s day, drying the tears of a heartbroken child.

I can’t polish the lens through which this light shines. I can’t clean the glass or intensify the output of the lumens.
I am simply light.
I shine because I can do nothing else.
Jesus said so.

It is my responsibility, however, to make sure there is nothing rendering the light unavailable to the world.

I can do that.

I can make sure that all the spiritual talk and attitudes I have on Sunday are still with me by Monday afternoon.

I can be just as happy moving about in the community as I am with the community of saints.

I can comfort the distraught, the downtrodden, the despairing and the down-and-outters just as easily as I can comfort the mother in a church meeting upset because her son seems to be going astray.

Jesus said I am the light of the world.
And just in case you missed it, He also said the same thing about you.
_________________________
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