Because I have a daughter in her teens, I hear the popular teen jargon before it hits the mainstream. One of those terms is “salty.” As with most folks, after hearing it awhile, I picked it up. As have those in my closest circle. In this context, salty means upset, angry, mad. But, as I was reading the book of Mark this morning, God reminded me that we are the “salt of the earth” – and He didn’t mean a bunch of angry people!
Salt is a curious thing. It is used for a huge range of things – seasoning, cleaning, purifying, preserving, just to name a few. When I think about what God must mean by calling us “salt,” I have to think about these uses. Salt is an absolute necessity of life. That tells me that, if we’re doing life right, we will be a necessity too. Folks will come to us, expecting us to be helpful. As I look around, though, I’m finding that many folks who go by the title of “Christian” don’t seem to be very salty.
I have found myself back where I started – working in a grocery store. As do my husband, daughter, best friend….and a whole bunch of other people I know and love. As we have compared stories in the last few weeks, I am horrified by how we get treated by the church-going crowd. Let me give you a few examples.
A couple weeks ago, the best friend asked me to work at her store because one of their cashiers didn’t show up. I readily accepted the offer and spent several hours in her store, running a register. One older man gruffly asked me, “When did you start here?” Rather than give a detailed explanation, I simply told him today. His next question startled me a bit. “Do you go to church?” My answer was sometimes, but most Sundays find me at work. As he was leaving and I told him to have a nice day, his parting shot was, “I hope you find a job where you can go to church.” Now, you need to know, I was offended. I love the Lord with all my heart. I believe, with every fiber of me, that He has planted me in my job, for His purpose. I go to work everyday, prepared to be the salt that He says I am. If I am in God’s will, why would you pray me out of it?
In the store that my husband and I work at, there is an older lady who walks through, announcing (loudly for all to hear), “Praise the Lord. Praise Jesus. Jesus saves.” While I have no issue with God’s name being praised, the manner in which it’s done seems to be a whole lot like the Pharisee who prayed, “thank God I’m not like other men are…” In fact, I was told a few days ago (by an unbelieving coworker) that his first encounter with her was when he greeted her and asked how she was. She then yelled those words at him. Believe me when I tell you that she didn’t win him to Christ.
The same coworker also was carrying around a “Get out of hell free” card. Some well-meaning soul had left it, hoping to win a soul to Christ. Yeah, it was ineffective.
The best friend had an occasion to donate food boxes from her store to a church. They had asked for a lot and she did the best she could. They came to pick up the boxes and stood there and watched my friend load these boxes in their vehicle….by herself. They watched. What you need to know is that she has some physical issues that makes things like that an extra challenge. Yet, they watched her load the boxes. When she told me, my first assumption was that it was a pair of little old ladies who couldn’t help. No. It was a man and a woman. The best friend is a Jesus-loving soul who is heaven bound. But….what if she hadn’t been? Would that couple have made a difference in her life that day? Not in a positive way.
I’ll stop there. There are many more stories I could tell. Such as the people still in their Sunday best yelling at the meat department over the meat selection. But, I think this is enough to drive home my point.
I don’t care if you go to church every time the doors open or never step foot in a church building, if you call yourself a Christian, you are supposed to be making a difference for Christ. God calls us salt. Are you helping to flavor your community? Are you preserving? Are you cleaning? More importantly, Jesus said the most important commandments are love God and love your neighbor. Are you loving? If not, then please don’t tell me how righteous you are because you’re so active in your church, because I can’t hear you. All I hear is, “thank God I’m not like these others….”
Our country is in a horrible place. We have had more mass shootings this year than we’ve had days in the year. The front page of today’s New York Daily News says, “God’s Not Fixing This.” We live in an age of entitlement and greed. There is far more hatred than love. This is our time. This is the time for us to step up and out and LOVE. God has called us to make a difference. Matthew 25:40 says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” What we do, what we say, how we act all matter. We will make a difference, only with Christ can it be for the good.
So. I have a question for you. Are you salty Bro?
Be blessed and tell someone you love them. Or, better yet, show some love to a “least of these.”