Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Salt of the Earth, Or is the World Salting Me?

Admittedly, I don't get to "go to church" each week as I'd like to. Things like living too far away to ask for a ride, not yet renewing my drivers license, and my husband's schedule making him need sleep come in the way, as well as some other things that pop up now and then. But this past Sunday evening my family was in attendance. Because our minister was out of town due to a death in the family, one of the elders delivered the message. He spoke on being the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). While I am sad to say that I can't remember all of what Louis spoke about, one statement stuck with me: "I sometimes wonder if I'm just a good person who got wet" (referring to baptism). He mentioned that he reads his bible, teaches classes, and does some preaching, but he likes to do those things. It gave me pause. If an elder of the church struggles with Christianity and whether he is on the right path, then I'm not alone. Am I following Christ, or did I just get wet? I think it is entirely too easy to become complacent about our lives as Christians. At least, that is the case with me. How do I know if I am being the salt of the earth as Christ called us to be, or if the world is salting me?

The answer to that, at least in part, is reading the Word of God, earnest prayer, and careful self examination. But what I'd like to point out is a little bit of world creep that has found its way into the Church: Division.

We are to set ourselves apart to some extent while living in this world; to be in the the world but not of it (Romans 12:2). We see division in the world every day: racial, geographical, political stance. Even within the confines of political stances there is further division. The more divided people are, the more some like it. And it doesn't stop there. It's found its ways into the body of Christ. In speaking of a family who happens to be on television and mentioning that they are Christian, one sister sniffed, "Well, they're liberal Christians." 

Liberal Christians as opposed to conservative Christians. Does this mean that we don't hold the same basic beliefs? That we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? That Jesus was sent by God to live on this earth as an example and to die as a sacrifice for our sins? That in order to become a Christian I must repent and be baptized for the remission of my sins? And afterwards we are to continue striving to be more like Christ each day, continually learning, continually teaching? If we believe these basic facts from the bible, then there should be no division among us. 

I know that there are things that some of us wont agree on at the same time. I still consider myself a fairly young Christian and still have much to learn. But I do know that some things I think are okay may cause another to stumble, so if I know that a brother or sister considers my action or speech a stumbling block, I need to be careful of that around him or her. I also need to look more closely at what I am doing or saying. Sometimes its a matter of opinion, sometimes its a matter of teaching. In either case, if we separate ourselves from a person or group of persons without at least trying to communicate, we aren't being salt. 

What is salt after all? It's a preservative, it's a flavor enhancer. If it's sitting to the side in its own box or shaker, it's doing neither of these things and is at that point worthless.  Am I the salt of the earth, or am I simply a good person who got wet?

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