Summary: Christians can be used by God to create a hunger and a thirst for Jesus.
Taste and see the real thing
When I was 12 years old my best friend invited me over to his new home to have dinner with his family. As a child, I had lived a very private life. I was 17 before I had ever spent the night away from home. As a child, I never went over to other kid’s houses to play, and I had never eaten a meal with another family, so this was a real treat. Because this was my first time, I was extremely nervous. Which fork do I use? Do I serve myself, or wait to be served? So, I sat very still at the dinner table, hoping to get some clues on what to do next. Because I was their guest, they wanted me to go first. My friend’s mother had put on the table a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, enough for the entire family. But when I reached over to grab the spoon I accidentally knocked over a container of table salt into the bowl. The lid was not on the container properly and the entire contents of the salt container poured out into the bowl of spaghetti ruining the meal for the entire family.
Salt is a wonderful ingredient of life. It brings flavor to life and to food. It preserves foods so they can be eaten without fear of disease. It heals wounds, and melts ice. But too much salt or salt that is not pure enough can ruin things. It can make a good meal inedible. It can ruin crops and make water undrinkable.
Jesus called us the ‘salt of the earth’, but He warned that if not administered properly that salt can become useless to the Kingdom. Some people leave a good taste in your mouth. Other people leave a bad taste in your mouth.
This imagery of taste and sight is used often in the scriptures.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has begun to help his disciples see that their character is of utmost importance. It will be important one day what they say about the Lord. The message of the gospel must be preached. But before it is preached, the messengers must lead by example. Their lives must be characterized by meekness and humility and mercy and purity of heart. They must be peacemakers who willingly suffer for the truth of the Gospel.
And after giving these Be-attitudes he challenges them with a new perspective of life in the world. They are to be different. They are to stand out. They are to have a strong influence on the world around them.
Listen to His words again in Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
I have a question for you today. “What taste do you leave and what do people see when they look at you?
1. Authentic Christians leave the flavor of Christ in others.
Jesus said: “You are the salt of the earth.” Jesus never said: “I am the salt of the earth.” He did say: “I am the light of the world and so are you.” But he never called himself ‘salt’.
Salt in Palestine was very different from the Morton’s Salt we find on our tables. That salt is pure and does not spoil. It never loses its saltiness.
The salt of Palestine was not mined from the earth or sea water, it was collected along the inland lakes (like the Dead Sea) and along the marshy ground around the ocean. Because of this when it was collected it was not completely pure, but was often mixed in with granules of sand and dirt. Sometimes this sand and dirt would rub away the saltiness of the salt. At other times rain waters would come and wash away the salt leaving only the grains of dirt and sand. So Palestinian salt could lose its flavor!