Jesus continues His “sermon on the mount” with likening us to salt and light.
I did a little research this morning on salt losing its flavor. The majority of the sites I visited say that salt does not lose its flavor. These were all referencing table salt, NaCl. In an article from “Evidence for Christianity”, they addressed salt that is specific to the region Jesus lived in and its loss of flavor. I don’t know which type of salt Jesus was talking about in His message but I do know that salt can lose its usefulness.
It takes quite a bit for salt to become totally useless, especially since it can be used so many different ways. Uses for salt: Flavoring, preservative, melting ice, freezing ice cream in a churn, preventing plant growth, essential mineral for life, making play dough, as a cleaner, remove the sting from insect bites, medicinal soaking solution, extinguishing grease fires, dye fixative, pest control, a pre-shampoo to control dandruff, even as an art form.
In each of these uses of salt, the salt is diluted as it is combined with other ingredients or processes. This combining results in new and useful products. Once the process has begun the salt can no longer be separated from the ingredients it was added to. The remains cannot be gathered up and put back into the saltshaker for later use. The products have to be completely consumed or discarded after use.
But suppose the reverse happened. Suppose your salt supply, your only source of salt, were to be diluted by water or dirt or some other substance. You would no longer be able to draw pure salt to use it in any of these processes.
Jesus’ word is the salt. We are the saltshakers in which He stores it. He pours us out into the world in MANY different ways to be of use in His plans. But He requires that we keep the salt He puts in us pure. If we let other sources pour into our shakers we become diluted and useless.
Even if/when we allow the wrong sources to pour into our lives, He, being God, can separate out the contaminates if we surrender to Him. It is a process and not generally a comfortable one. He uses His “refining fire.” This fire consumes the contamination and returns us to a right relationship with Him.
Jesus also likened us to a light. They used candles as their light source in Jesus’ time. I’m imagining what would happen if you tried to put a candle under a wicker basket. FIRE! (Just something that popped into my head.)
Have you ever heard the quote, “No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness was there first” Terry Pratchett? That is a true saying because in creation darkness did come first. However, ANY bit of light drives back the darkness. Darkness cannot overcome light.
The placement of the light source, its purpose and the intensity are very important. A single candle or light in the corner of the room is great when all you want is a nightlight to keep you from tripping on your way through the room. A stronger light brought into the work area makes the task much easier and safer. A bright focused light can even thaw ice.
Again, Jesus uses each of us and our strengths to work out His purposes. He doesn’t put the bright light in the baby’s room expecting the baby to sleep. Neither doesn’t put the candle in the operating theatre. He knows our talents, because He placed them there. He also knows when to add fuel to the fire to make it burn brighter, or how to trim the wick to decrease the light output.
Thank You God that You use me in Your plan no matter how big or little I am. You know just the right job to give me. You placed everything in me that I need for the job You set before me. Even when what You placed in me is a knowledge of how to call someone else for help. Help me shine Your light and bring Your flavor to the forefront of everything I do.
Thank You that when I do mess up You are able to restore me to usefulness again. I am not beyond Your restoration power.