Summary: A sermon about being salt and light in the world.

Matthew 5:13-20

“Tasting and Seeing the Goodness of God”

By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN

When I was about Mary Ellen’s age, I happened along my dad, who was sitting in the kitchen, eating an apple.

My curiosity was stimulated as I watched him salt a bit of the apple, take a bite, and then repeat.

“Dad, why are you putting salt on your apple?” I asked him.

“Oh, because salt brings out the flavor in things,” he replied happily, “it makes things taste better.”

Well, light bulbs flashed on in my head, and from then on, I have been a bit of a salt-aholic.

I salt just about everything.

Food just doesn’t taste good, to me, without it.

Thankfully my blood pressure is very low.

Nevertheless, I have heard over and over again, from people who have watched me salt my food, “Ken, don’t use so much salt!”

They are right.

Too much salt is not good for you.

But the funniest thing is that I have heard this, from my dad—of all people, on hundreds of occasions.

So, when my dad says this, I tell him about why I started eating so much salt…about what he told me about it “making things taste better.”

And he will deny this…

…honestly, to be sure.

He doesn’t remember telling me this when I was 5.

Then one day, my parents were having company, and a small group of children were gathered around the kitchen table watching my father eat an apple.

“Mr. Bill, why do you put salt on your apple?” I heard a young voice inquire.

“Oh, it’s because salt brings out the flavor in things,” he replied.

“Salt makes food taste better.”

“Aha!!!” I proclaimed. “Caught ‘ya!!! That’s exactly what you told me when I was a kid.”

In our Gospel Lesson for this morning, Jesus says “You are the salt of the earth.”

This is one of the marks of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

And what a compliment, what a privilege, what an honor indeed!!!

It’s not something to take lightly!

In Jesus’ day salt stood for sacrifice, loyalty, a shared relationship, purification, seasoning and preservation.

Eating together was called “sharing salt” and meant a binding together of relationship.

One of the awesome things about salt is that salt does not exist for itself.

It does not serve itself.

It exists to enhance the other…

…to “bring out the flavor” shall we say or to preserve and save the other.

And that is what discipleship is about.

It’s about serving others in the name and for the sake of Christ.

It’s about making a positive difference in a world which is lost, broken and hurting.

Clair was watching a cooking show the other day, and being very aware of my propensity for pouring and pouring the salt from the shaker, her ears perked up when the cook said, “You only need just a little pinch of salt to bring out the flavor. A little salt goes a long way.”

That is true.

A pinch of salt is effective far beyond the proportion of its amount.

Salt does not necessarily attract a whole lot of attention to itself.

It’s a pretty ordinary ingredient.

It mixes up well with other common things.

But if it is left out of a recipe, just the ‘pinch of it’ is missed.

The same can be said for our Christian witness.

We aren’t necessarily called to go about with sirens and guns a blazin’ as much as we are to live day-by-day as witnesses for Christ—where we are planted…

…in school, at home, at work, in the community.

We are to mix with the rest of humanity, we are to be involved in the life of other folks as caring and loving friends.

And if we live this way, we will be missed if we are not around.

Last Saturday, during our monthly servant evangelism event, one of you told me that when you went to a certain door in our surrounding neighborhood offering the free cold and flu packets one person responded with: “I was wondering when you folks would be back. I so loved the cantaloupe you all gave me in the summer. It was the best I had all year.”

It has been said that a good test of whether or not a church is living out its mission is to ask, “If we were to pack up and leave tomorrow, would we be missed by the neighborhood, the community?”

Just think of all the folks who use our food pantry.

Just think of the number of people who received free school supplies from you all this past Fall.

One thing I noticed this past Saturday was that, in knocking on doors and introducing ourselves to folks, no one asked me, “Now, where are you located?”

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