Jesus said we are the salt of the world (Matthew 5:13). What did he mean by this? Some suggest that he was referring to the fact that salt is a preservative. It keeps food from spoiling. If they are right, Jesus meant either that we keep society from going bad, or that because we have the gospel, our presence gives people the chance to avoid destruction.
Others think that Jesus was referring to the fact that salt makes a person thirsty. Do you remember the old saying, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink?" I heard one wise farmer reply, "No, but you can put salt in the oats!" Our joy-filled lives should cause others to be thirsty for what we have.
Whichever idea Jesus intended, there is something important to keep in mind: salt has no effect whatsoever if it is still in the shaker. Salt, to do its work, must be in contact with the food!
There is an interesting pattern in the life of Paul. In Acts we see him going to the synagogue and talking to people about Jesus. This was natural. They were "his kind of people." Some of Jews responded to the gospel and became Christ-followers. But in city after city we see that there was a moment when no further response was occurring. Sometimes, Paul was opposed and his message rejected.
When that happened, he wasn't content to simply say, "I tried, but they aren't interested so I'll stop." Instead, he went to the Gentiles and they responded and many became believers (for example see Acts 13:42-49). He never lost the passion for "his people", but he moved on to talk to people who were more receptive to the gospel, even though they were different ethnically (Romans 9:1-3). His saltiness needed to be placed where it would do the most good!
Perhaps you have tried to share the gospel with those who you know and they are not responding. If so, the Lord may be calling to you expand your field. Your salt needs to be placed in contact with those who are responsive. Ask the Lord to show you new relationships to develop in order to share the gospel. There might be a new hobby, a different barbershop, or a new neighbor to get to know. Like Paul, there might even be a new ethnic group God wants you to reach!
To use a different analogy, you are called to be a fisher of men. Is your line in the water? Good for you! If not, cast it out there! If your line is in the water and nothing is even nibbling, perhaps it is time to try a different spot!
Word of Life Staff
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