The Value of Salt
Sprinkled along the emerald-green hillside, oddly-shaped flowers appeared to bloom. Upon closer inspection, these yellow blooms were actually blocks of salt.
On our family farm, my dad scattered these salt blocks for our cattle. And the cattle loved them – as was evident by the indentions worn into the blocks by a hungry cow’s tongue.
The purpose of the salt was to encourage thirst. The cow’s frequent trips back and forth to the pond made it evident that the salt was serving its purpose. As dairy cattle drank more water, they produced better milk.
The Bible talks about how we, as Christians, are to be like salt. So truly, there should be something in our lives that encourage others around us to have a thirst for the Living Water that comes from knowing Jesus.
Mark 9:50 (NLT) says:
Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.
Matthew 5:13 also says,
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?…
So, if God said we, as Christians, are to be salt, what is the significance of that?
Besides something that prompts thirst, salt was used for so many things during biblical times:
- Salt was traditionally rubbed on newborns (Ezekiel 16:4);
- Salt was used to mark a continual covenant (Numbers 18:19);
- Salt was both an additive and preservative of food (Leviticus 2:13);
Salt was even used as currency. The Oxford Dictionary tells us that salt was once so valuable, the Roman army was sometimes paid with salt instead of money. Their monthly allowance was called “salarium” (since “sal” is Latin for salt.)
At a time in history when there was no refrigeration, it was important to preserve meats, often with salt. And preserving foods meant preserving lives!
So, when the early Christians were told that they were to be “salt,” they were being told that they were highly valuable to the world. In fact, they had something to offer the world that meant life!
But the early Christians were also warned not to allow anything to negatively impact their effectiveness – like salt is impacted when impurities are mixed with it.
So, if we are to be salt, we should always remember our true purpose as believers – and not be tainted by this world. We are from a different kingdom – a place where we promote life and point people to Jesus!
Numbers 11:27-29 27A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” 29But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”
When Moses was too burdened with caring for all the people, the LORD had him bring all the elders together and put His Spirit on them. They all began to prophesy. Two men who were not called were out in the camp, and they were prophesying also. Moses’ general, Joshua, insisted they be stopped. Moses answer shows us the heart of a genuine God inspired leader.
“Are you jealous for my sake?” “What are you saying Joshua? Do you think I should be jealous that they too have been given the Spirit? Do you want everyone to look to me? Do you think God should work only within the confines of our choices (in recognizing who is an elder)?” Moses never wanted to be the number one man. His mistakes and years of humbly shepherding sheep had taught him who he was. Do you know who you are? Once we see the depravity of the human condition, we will desire that everyone be full of the Holy Spirit. It is not a competition! We are working together to see people choose the Kingdom of Light.
Leadership positions often foster rivalries. That is the petty jealousies of men. It is blindness to the Kingdom perspective and focused on the success of an individual. People today say the same thing as Joshua when people in the congregation are anointed to serve. A person who is not an official elder, but one in heart, will teach from the Word. That is how we recognize they are an elder. The life comes before the title. Eldad and Medad were not officially recognized by anyone but God. Encourage the expression of the gifts in everyone. Recognize God’s choices. Quench not the Spirit.
Meditation: Am I jealous for my leadership or for God’s kingdom?
A Message for the Fearful Hearted
By Kyle Norman, crosswalk.com
“Say to those with fearful hearts, “be strong, do not fear, your God will come. He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” (Isaiah 35:4)
“Little pig, little pig, let me in!” “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”
We know the story. We’ve all heard the tale about how the big-bad wolf pursues the three innocent pigs, attempting to blow their houses down. Two of the pigs find their residences blown to shambles, while the final pig, the smart pig, the faithful pig, withstands the huffs and puffs of the wolf.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our lives were like that? Wouldn’t it be great if the gusts of problems and struggles never affected us? Sadly, we know the truth. There are times where we feel that life is against us. It could be a result of a job loss, a tornado, a war, a death, or a diagnosis, but in those moments, we feel our footing is unsure, and our spiritual houses shake more than we would like.
Scripture often uses the term “fearful hearted” to describe such a state. Being fearful-hearted is not the same thing as being merely disappointed or dismayed. We are fearful in heart when we face a threat or an obstacle which appears too big for us to manage. Like Israel feeling trapped in the exile, we feel alone and abandoned. We may even question whether God has forsaken us.
But God hasn’t forsaken us. God has not forgotten us. In fact, Scripture holds before us the glorious truth that when we feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or fearful, God comes to us. In the places of our fear and discouragement, God acts in healing and restoration.
The Lord speaks a word of hope, not condemnation, to those who are fearful in heart. Isaiah cries out “Say to those with fearful hearts, “be strong, do not fear, your God will come.” We are called to recognize that the struggles we face are never the full story. The divine promise is that God comes to us. God calls us to keep our eyes turned heavenward, to boldly stand in faith, and to audaciously hold onto hope.
Is your heart fearful today? If so, listen to Isaiah, and dare to believe that there will be an end to what you face. This reality is assured because it is a reality rooted in God’s presence, not your own ability. We can be strong despite our struggles, and faith-filled amid our fears because we do not stand alone. Isaiah speaks confidently, God will come! God will come with vengeance and retribution. God will come to save. Despite the huffing and puffing blowing against you, the Lord promises to come in power. God never enters our life as a passive observer. God never sits on the sidelines. This is the promise of God.
These are not just empty words. These are not saccharin niceties the faithful say to make themselves feel better. If we ever need proof of this in our lives, all we need to do is look to Jesus. These affirmations are written in history and proven in blood. Jesus is the proof that God’s love and power flow into our life. The very thing that Israel looked forward to, the very future to which they hoped, is the truth we grasp; Jesus stands with us in the messiness of life and brings redemption out of the darkest of places. For anyone who is fearful hearted, hear the good news: Jesus has stepped into your world.