Well, here we are. It's the most wonderful time of the year. A time for celebration and indulgence where we ditch our usual routines and embrace the holiday season. Thanksgiving comes around and the clock starts ticking. It's that gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas that the food fest begins. We start indulging on things like turkey, ham, desserts, gravies, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and somehow we forget for those 4 weeks that, "um...we don't eat like this anymore." I'm pretty sure I've eaten more salt in the last 4 weeks than I have all year and I have the puffy eyes to proves it, haha. There's just something about all those traditional dishes that leaves you parched like a stranded hiker out in the middle of the dessert; dry mouth, lips chapped, and energy sapped. It's no wonder we find ourselves chugging every beverage in sight on Thanksgiving like a camel in the Desert. We all know what that something is that leaves us so parched and it's not the l tryptophan in the turkey, haha. It's all that salt.
As I sit here eating the delicious and very salty Moose Munch that my sweet parents gave to me, I find myself once again unable to quench my thirst. Gulping down water like a fish, I can't help but think about what Jesus said regarding salt and what that meant then and what it means for us now. Jesus said that we, His followers, are the salt of the earth. In Matthew 5:13 Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot." That's a pretty bold statement and it's one I don't want to skim over. Jesus says here that we are to be the salt of the earth and that it's possible to lose our saltiness and be thrown out, so it's important to understand what He's talking about here and guard against it right? It matters. I think it matters a lot.
Salt had three primary purposes in the times of Jesus. It was to preserve, to flavor, and to heal. Throughout history salt has been used to preserve meat and other items before refrigeration was a thing. It was and still is used as a healing agent. They would use it to treat wounds and infections. Now we soak in Epsom salt baths to rid our bodies of inflammation and harmful toxins. And lastly, salt was and is used to flavor food. Have you ever eaten unsalted popcorn or unsalted anything for that matter? Salt adds so much flavor and zest to food.
So, how do we take this figurative language of Jesus and become the salt of the earth, and not just become it, but also keep it and retain it? If we are indeed the salt of the earth there should be some tangible evidence of it. Below I share a few things to help us gauge our salty factor.
We should be creating thirst in people -
We all know that salt makes us thirsty. Jesus spoke about thirst many times during His days on earth, both physically and spiritually. In John 7:37-39, Jesus cries out, "if anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of water". Now this He said about the Spirit whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given because Jesus had not yet entered into His glory ." Jesus is speaking of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and what was to come on the day of Pentecost and what would be for us now. If we are true believers, true followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in us. The Holy Spirit is our guide, He gives us wisdom, reveals truth, gives us gifts, and He is working in our lives for a purpose. The results of that work produces the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. This fruit, the work of the Holy Spirit in us, is what I believe creates thirst in others. When people see the love of God at work in a believer, well I believe they were made to receive that love. As we receive these gifts, and grow in the fruits of the Spirit, we are to go out and express these things to whomever God brings across our path. We have the honor and responsibility to represent the Most High to the world around us. Although our relationship with God is and should be personal and intimate it is not meant to be just that. There should be an outpouring of what we receive. It's this beautiful harmony that takes place. God is always working things out in this beautiful symphony where the innerworkings have a ripple effect and the result is a gloriously perfect symphony on display for all to see. To be an instrument in His hands is our greatest honor. I believe God reaches out to others through our very lives. How amazing and beautiful that He would want to include us in this. Have you ever sat back and watched God do this through someone? Sometimes I have to leave the room when I witness these things to hide my tears. It's as if the beauty is too much for my eyes to behold. It's truly the most extraordinary thing to watch the Creator of the universe reach out to someone through another. What people see in our lives should make them thirst for what we have and that is Him. Our lives, our witness should make people thirst for living waters. They should thirst for Jesus. May it be so in our lives.
We should be a purifying influence on our world-
The world we live in is putrefying. Since the fall of mankind there has been death, disease, and moral decay. In this sin infested world, we as followers of Jesus, should look different, act different, we should live and be different. Not on purpose. It's not an effort or a fabricated uniqueness. It comes from being in His presence. It's a natural byproduct of being filled with the Holy Spirit, of dedicating and giving our lives to Him. It happens naturally and supernaturally. The fruit of the Spirit brings light and life to the world. This is why God says we are to be salt and light. After the verse on being the salt of the earth, Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 5:14, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven." Like salt works as a preservative, Christians are meant to have a preserving influence in the world. Living according to Gods laws and attributes brings life and light to the world. We only need to abide in the Vine and continue to grow in our walks with the Lord. He supplies all the goods.
So in a nutshell, I believe if we commit our lives to God, follow the example of Jesus, and put our trust in Him, we will have the saltiness and light exuding from our lives adding flavor to the world around us and will not be in danger of losing our saltiness. Abiding, following, and trusting is the key on our journey of faith.
Can you believe the unprecedented days we are living in? Through all the chaos, fear and confusion, God is on the throne and He is doing a very special work right now. When this season of our lives is done what will we say we did with the times? If we surrender our lives to the Lord and follow Him He will bring about all of these things in and through our lives. What better thing is there for a person? We gain and get everything we need when we commit our ways to God and follow Him. And when we do there is a ripple effect which potentially makes the world around us thirsty for living water.
I pray that we as the Church of Jesus Christ will rise to the occasion. That we will love fiercely, be patient and gracious with everyone. That we will be forgiving and merciful toward others and put others needs above our own. Praying the peace of God will fill you and your homes during this Christmas season and that you find joy during these extraordinary days. Be encouraged friends. God is doing a work. Let's get out there and be a part of it. Let's bring salt and light to the whole world.
Peace, love and big big hugs.
Lisa Gresham is married to her husband Marty, and is currently in her 12th year homeschooling their youngest daughter Bailey. She is a grandma, and is currently working with the Youth at her Church. She is a retired High School Teacher and Coach, is an avid Writer and has her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development. You will frequently find her on the beaches of Orange County in Southern California, her favorite dwelling place.