Salty sharing of God’s love
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13
Angie began her work in the bank about two months back, shortly after Thanksgiving. Allison had asked her to go to lunch at Natalie’s, a casual dining restaurant with great food on the north side of the city. Orders placed they were enjoying ice tea and a Coke Zero.
Angie said, “So another Monday. I’m so glad the ice outside is gone. What did you enjoy doing over the weekend?”
“I went to a new study at church on Sunday morning. The teacher was encouraging us to see and share the Lord’s presence in ordinary things each day.”
“That sounds different. Like what?”
“Like this salt shaker,” Allison said, holding it up.
“That’s certainly pretty ordinary. But what in the world does that have to do with God?”
“Jesus was teaching the disciples and a great crowd one day. He looked right at them and told them they were salt, like the salt in this shaker. And that raised their curiosity while telling them something about how he saw them.”
“So what did he mean by that?”
“Think about salt Angie. Do you ever get served food that is just blah? Like scrambled eggs with nothing on them. What do you do after you have tasted those eggs?”
“I reach for the salt and sprinkle it on them.”
“What happens then?”
“It makes them taste much better. It brings out the best in the scrambled eggs. Then I enjoy them.”
“Right! And if, as Christians, we are the salt of the earth – we are to bring out the best in others as well.”
“So. . . we are salt? That’s not always easy.”
“Sure. Jesus never told us it would be easy to be salt, but that we are salt.”
“What else did you learn about salt, Allison?”
“Have you ever eaten real country ham, Angie? I know you’re from New Jersey and may not know what I’m talking about.”
“I’ve had country ham, Allision. Give me a break. So what’s that got to do with what we were talking about?”
“If you remember when you ate real country ham, what else do you remember about those days when you did?”
“Not sure what you’re asking.”
“Come on Angie. When you eat country ham – real country ham – for the rest of that day you stop at every single water fount you pass by, right?”
“Oh! Because it makes you so thirsty?”
“Exactly! It’s the salt that makes country ham so different than any other ham you will ever eat. Well, think about it a minute. If Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth, then we are to make people thirsty for God.”
“I get it. That’s pretty good, but how can we really do that? I don’t want to have people think I’m some kind of holy-roller you know.”
“I know Angie. But we are called to love others as Christ loved us. It’s God’s love they experience through us that causes them to be thirsty for God’s love.” “Can I go with you next Sunday to your new study group? I have learned more about salt today than I’ve ever considered. And our talking about helps me see how it’s related to God and me. Thanks Allison. I want to be the salt that God says I am meant to be.”
Sharing with others about God through simple things like salt is a practical, positive way to witness. Most of us eat with others every day. Consider these questions as you prepare for the next time you are out to eat with others:
1) What would prevent you from using the verse from Matthew 5:13, where Jesus tells us that we ARE the salt of the earth in a similar way to this dialogue above?
2) What other everyday, normal things could we use to begin conversations with others about Christ? Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 5 following the discussion about salt – he said, “You are the light of the world.”
3) And in the section following these in Matthew 5:20, Jesus tells the disciples that if their faith does not exceed that of Scribes and Pharisees they will not enter the Kingdom of God. Why was Jesus in so much conflict with the Pharisees throughout the New Testament? How does that apply to our reaching out to others today?
Let’s go into the world prepared to share how we can reach out to others in the love of God through simple, everyday topics like salt, light and the importance of having a loving attitude. It works!
Rev. Jim W. Hollis is a General Evangelist of the UMC, founder and Executive Director of Proactive Evangelism Ministries (PEM). You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.