Last week, we talked about how radically different the beatitudes are from the views of society. Blessed are the poor, those who hunger for righteousness… when viewed through worldly eyes, these aren't the people whom we would consider to be blessed.
But, Jesus says otherwise. The beatitudes tell us about the characteristics of those who would follow him. By choosing to live a Godly life we are blessed in all circumstances.
Before continuing to look at the Sermon on the Mount, it is important that we understand that even in these situations, that God has blessings for us. We are His. He is our salvation.
To understand how Christians relate to the world, it is important to first understand who we belong to. The beatitudes help us see that more clearly. The words give us confidence as we understand how Christians relate to the world as outlined in Matthew 5:13-16.
In this segment, Christ tells us that we are both “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. But what does that mean? Let us look to what salt is and does for the answer to that question.
Salt is perhaps the most common and one of the oldest cooking seasonings. Just a pinch brings out the flavor in almost any dish. It only takes a small amount to change the entire flavor of a dish.
Romans, Greeks and Hebrews all prized salt for its flavor and as a preservative. Food was preserved as the crops came in and staved off starvation during the lean months. People who might otherwise die of hunger, could live.
Salt is also a mineral that our body needs to survive. A salt deficiency can be life threatening. If left unaddressed the imbalance can lead to death.
Jesus was referring to each of these meanings when he said that we, as his followers, are the salt of the earth.
It only takes one Mother Teresa to make the world a better place. How many people have been inspired by her example to take care of the poor and needy?
How many people have been inspired through the lives and work of John and Charles Wesley? Charles was a prolific hymn writer and John being the founder of Methodism.
How many of those lives have been saved from eternal death because of two men? Sometimes it only takes a little salt to change the world.
But just as assuredly as salt is necessary for our lives so is God. The scripture reminds us that when salt loses its flavor that it is no longer good for anything except to be trodden on by men. It melts ice from the roads in winter so people can drive or walk.
But, it can no longer be used for its intended purpose. Something has to happen for the salt to be usable as flavoring again.
When Christians lose their flavor God can revitalize us and bring us in right relationship with him. Only then may we be restored as fully sons and daughters who are heir to His kingdom.