From time to time people ask me what I listen to, in other words what's on my ipod (a more modern way of saying “what's in your Cd player”). Lately, one of the songs that have been played more often then others is a song by Israel Houghton titled "Say So.” This caught my attention and really spoke to me with the following words:
“We could show the world heaven.
Show what it means to be His.
To be formed in his likeness.
Show them they have a purpose.
To be salt and light in the world, in the world.” **
This song was obviously inspired by the words of Jesus found in Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."
Strong words by Jesus wouldn't you say? Why such strong words? What's wrong with "unsalted" salt? What's wrong if we lose our "flavor" as Christian, isn't God going to do His work anyway, regardless of our "flavorless and unsalted life"? Surely others will pick up the slack, right? Some might say they are just going through a rough season of life or that they are just not the kind of Christian who goes out there and shares his/her faith with everybody and bothers people with the truth and reality of God. Maybe other may say they are going to be nice and being nice should win people to Jesus, no need to do or say anything…just live and let die. Or is it so?
For the sake of a point, I’ll point out to you that I have met some very “nice” people in the 20+ years I have been a Christian, who actually, at first glance, appeared way nicer then some Christians I know, including myself! People who not only do not believe in Jesus and the word of God the way I do, but that are completely opposed to the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith such as the Virgin birth the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (atonement of our sins by the shed blood of Jesus), the reality of heaven and Hell, etc… Some very “nice” members of various cults (such as Mormons and Jehovah witnesses) have sat next to me on airplanes. I have spoken with some very “nice” atheists and had very civil and friendly conversations with Buddhists and Muslims. Just being nice solely for the sake of being nice does not count when it comes to being salt and light in a dull and dark world. We do it with purpose and that purpose being that it brings glory and honor to the name of our God.
So again, the question is asked: What's wrong if we lose our "flavor" as Christians? Well, let me answer that question by asking you another question: What would happen to the salt in your food pantry (or any of the other spices) that had lost their flavor? You would toss them out in the trash can and would go buy the fresh, flavorful salt so that when you need to use it you would find that the salt or spices are seasoning your food the way it is supposed to. That's what hits me when I read these words "to be salt and light in this world"...If I am not being salt and light, I am not truly fulfilling my purpose as a Christian. Now, I don't believe that Jesus is saying that if your life isn't “salty” enough right now, flavorful or bearing enough fruits, then He will toss you out like a rotten apple. He is much too gracious and merciful. His desire for us to way be salt and light is too great. I do believe though that Jesus’ statement is a clear warning and encouragement to us that, unless we are “salt and light” in this world (by our words, behavior, attitudes, actions, etc…) our lives will truly be of no use for the Kingdom of God. We will make no eternal impact or changes and will be in many ways meaningless and without purpose. That alone should be enough (for someone who meditates and thinks about it for some time) to drive us to our knees with a genuine desire to see God transform our lives, our hearts and consequently, restore a flavorful and effective witness to the world!
That’s what I want for my family, my music ministry and myself; will you join me in this desperately important and needed quest?
** [Michael Gungor / Israel Houghton, Copyright© 2006 Vertical Worship Songs, New Breed Extended, Sound Of The New Breed, Integrity's Praise! Music]