Salt

3. Salt Sodium chloride is an abundant mineral, used as a seasoning for food (Job 6:6) and offerings (Lev. 2:13; Ezek. 43:24). As a preservative, salt was symbolic of covenants (Num. 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5). Both meanings are present in Jesus' comparison of the disciples to salt (Matt. 5:13). Salt was also a symbol of desolation and barrenness, perhaps because of the barrenness of the Dead Sea, the biblical Salt Sea. The "salt pits" of Zephaniah 2:9 were probably located just south of the Dead Sea. Sodium chloride could leech out of the generally impure salt from this area, leaving a tasteless substance (Luke 14:34-35). Holman's Bible Dictionary

Matthew 5:13-15

13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.

 

Sermon:  "On making a Difference"

Matthew 5:13-16

"Do you reckon anyone will come to my funeral", he asked?

 We had just buried one of the prime movers of the community, and were walking back to the car.  A couple hundred people came to pay their respects, and to mourn this dead leader of people.

 So often we attribute the number who show up for our funeral as evidence of the importance of an individual life.  All of us want our lives to count.  Most of us would like to have a couple  pages in the local history, maybe one in the state and to be mentioned nationally.  Not one of us want to live our lives and end up as a total unknown in death.

 If you want your life to count ... hear today's lesson.

      It has two parts:

                  1. The qualities found in salt.

                  2. The characterists of the individual whose life reflects those qualities.

First:  Let us look at the qualities of salt.  Salt has at least three unique qualities.

 1. A little salt sets the flavor in food.

 The fellows with whom I eat breakfast from time to time are always amazed when I take a salt shaker and sprinkle a smidgen  in a cup of coffee.  "I've never seen that before, they exclaim. Why do you do that?"  I answer, "it takes the bitterness, and the bite out of the coffee."

 Salt sets the flavor in food.

When we lived on the coast of NC we learned about "corning" sea food before cooking it.  This is done by placing the food in a brine of salt.  Allowing it to sit for about 15 to 30 minutes, then rinsing it off until it has lost its saltiness.  Then cook it.

 Shrimp soaked in salt has a sweet succulent flavor that is much better than the way most of us eat them.  Salt draws out the old dead blood, and unclean parts of the shrimp and leaves it clean. When it is rinsed and cooked the flavor is unbelieveablely different from Shrimp cooked other wise.

 2. Salt is a preservative.  Our ancestors used salt to cure food to be used later.  Country Ham, Corned Ham, Beef Jerky, and salted fish were staples of their diets.  

3. Salt has healing properties.  It kills most germs on contact.  It burns when it hits a raw spot, but is very effective in cleansing a wound so it can heal.  "Don't rub salt in my wounds", is a statement often heard when a person is hurt from good advice.

Secondly:  Let us deal with person part of our lesson.  A good Christian exhibits the qualities of salt.

  a. We add a better flavor to the life around us.

 b.  We preserve the good of God's creation.

 c. We bring healing to the hurting people in our community.

 What is a salty person?   Life always adds new meanings, and flavor to words.  It has its extremes and what it accepts as a norm.

 One of the fellows pointed to a retired Colonial and said ... "Don't ever go fishin" with that fellow ... he is too salty."  When the group thinned out I asked one of the old timers what it meant to be too salty.  That means a person who takes to many risks while fishing in the ocean.  The Colonial was known for fishing in the white water of the surf in his boat.  It is very dangerous because if the boat falters just a moment it will be swamped, turned over and the people on board in danger of drowning.  There are many sand bars in the surf.  When white water rolls over them one can not see them.  The power of white water drives a boat upon them and turns it over.  People who are willing to take such risks are called "salty".

 You are to be the salt of society, says Jesus.  He doesn't mean being too salty.  On the other hand ...  If, you loose the strength of your Christian life ...what good are you?

 Put in modern language a salty person is one who makes a positive contribution to society.  It begins with concern, and ends with commitment.

 A good example is a Sunday School Teacher who feels the responsibility of conveying the  Biblical message to his/her class by teaching lessons and by the example life.  A good teacher knows each member of the class, works on motivating each one of them to be excited about be a Christian.  Helps individuals find themselves in the class and the church.  Visits them when they are sick, and remembers special days in their lives.  These teachers realize that  to do a good job they need always to be learning new ways to hone their teaching abilities, and improving personal relations.

 One salty leader can make a tremendous difference in a congregation.

Wally was the General Supt. of Glen Raven Mills.  When I was appointed to his church he was inactive.  I visited his home, and worked to get him back to church.  He started attending with his wife and son.  Each time I had a chance to be with him in private I eased into the subject of leadership in the church.  He never said he would not be involved so when the nominating committee met for the new year I suggested we make him Chairmen of the Ad. Board.  The people were delighted.  He was elected.  Attendance at committees, and the Ad. Board were very poor.  Wally and I got together to set up the committees,  and decide how we would start the new year.  On the first Sunday of the year we planned to install all the officers and the committee members during the 11:00 service.  

 On Thursday I received a call.  Wally had been called to New York for some emergency business, and would not be back until Monday.  He apoligized.  My countinence fell.  Even though I did not say anything he could tell by my voice I was pretty low.  I didn't tell anyone.  When we got to church most everyone was there, except Wally.  Some of the main leaders knew where he was because they were leaders in the local mill.  About half way through the service Wally came rushing down the isle.  They had finished early.  He had been able to get a flight back to Greensboro, and make worship.  A new day started in that church that Sunday Morning.  When the Chairman of the Board gave the day such a level of  importance in his life; everyone else followed suit.  For me Wally was salty.

When we have concern and commitment  Christ can use us to do a great deal of good.  How about you?  How would you evaluate the strength of the flavor of your life?