Grabbing a few salt packets from the counter, I took my popcorn, found my seat and sat down to enjoy the movie. Before I tore open the salt packets I noticed that one of them seemed flat. It had the proper label, bore the particular movie theatre’s logo, and was shaped just like the other salt packets. The only problem was that it contained no salt.
I kept that little packet as a reminder that God’s people are supposed to be salt. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:13: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men”. Our Lord told us to be salty. This command involves exercising our biblical distinctiveness in an unsavory world. The command challenges us to keep the part of the earth that surrounds us from becoming more rotten than it is now. We are to add the flavor of Christlikeness to those we come into contact with on a daily basis. I also believe that our saltiness should create a thirst for God in those we know. But I am afraid that far too many Christians are like my salt packet in the movie theatre; we are empty of salt. We have the proper label but we have lost our saltiness.
As the world gets more and more unsavory and as the culture becomes increasingly rotten we as Christ followers need to be the salt of the earth. We should take every opportunity to share the gospel of Christ. We should not be ashamed to take a stand for biblical morality. And we must live in such a way that those who do not know Christ are thirsty for the reality they witness in our lives. Churches strive to be friendly. They desire to be known as relevant. And some churches strive to be seeker sensitive. But I believe our Lord wants His church to be salty.
I remember before I became a teenager that I was fascinated with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. I spent one summer following every game and was such a fan that I memorized each of the players, their positions and even their batting averages. It was a pretty boring summer. I don’t know why I even wasted brain space doing that. I don’t even follow the Cardinals today. Many people have a similar fascination with trivia. They engage in a harmless pursuit learning various details and unimportant facts about a certain subject.
Sometimes Christians get occupied with emphasizing things in their spiritual lives that really are not the most important things. The enemy of our soul can get us busy with majoring on minors. Minors for the child of God are those things that the Bible is silent about. There are some things that can be relegated to Christian liberty and Spirit-led personal decisions because there is no specific “thus saith the Lord” involved. Many church splits can be traced to majoring on minors. Some of those minor issues have to do with worship styles and musical tastes. Another minor is what version of the Bible one chooses to use. Christians often debate one another about what clothing is appropriate for church, what entertainment is right or wrong, and what activities are appropriate for the Lord’s day.
Probably the greatest danger of majoring on minors is that we begin to minor on the majors. The major things that we need to be doing as a Christ followers often are squeezed out and left undone and emphasized. We need to be majoring on preaching the gospel of Christ to a lost world. We need to be loving one another in the family of God. We dare not neglect our duties of being the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who were majoring on minors with these words: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith…” (Matthew 23:23). May God stir us to major on the majors.
Our youth group engages in a fun activity once in a while. They love to travel to a nearby campground and spend some time mudding. Perhaps you haven’t heard of mudding. It involves driving 4-wheelers through puddles of mud. After the driving part is over the rest of the youth group jump in and play in the mud. I was with them one time and watched from a distance. Evidently I was not distant enough and the youth group guys got me a little muddy.
What is a harmless youth activity becomes one of those dumb things Christians do when we start slinging mud on the church which is the bride of Christ. Eph. 5: 26,27 says: “…as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle…”. Jesus washed us in His own precious blood as He gave His life for the bride. How do we sling mud on His bride? We can do that in several ways. We sling mud on the church by being absent from it. When we are not present in church we are saying that the bride of Christ is not important to us. We miss those opportunities to receive or be a blessing. Another way we sling mud is complaining about the church. There is no perfect church simply because there are no perfect Christians. Devastating results occur when we run our church down to whoever will listen. We sling mud on the bride when we live shamefully. Our language, our anger, our lack of integrity, and our foolish behavior all cast mud on the church in front of a lost world.
How can we get out of the mudding business? When we have a problem with the church, approach those involved instead of blabbing about it to whoever will listen. Decide that you will be a part of the building team rather than the wrecking team. And finally, determine that you will not sling mud but you will tell others why you love your local assembly of the bride of Christ.
Have you ever done something that was just plain dumb? Perhaps it wasn’t overtly sinful but just incredibly foolish. I remember the time I forgot to put the oil cap back on my van and drove it 600 miles. There was another time that I washed the laundry in powdered sugar thinking it was detergent. Do you dare admit to some similar dumb thing? Those who know Christ are guilty of doing dumb things as well. These things have a way of hindering the overall cause of Christ or making it difficult for others to see Him clearly.
One of the dumb things Christians do is shooting our own wounded. Sometimes we may not even intend it to happen but it does. An insensitive comment, a snide remark or an unkind gesture from another believer has been the arrow that stuck into the soul of a hurting child of God. I look at the church as a hospital for the hurting rather than a temple for the already perfect. We never know the baggage and hurts people carry with them when they come into our assembly. They may be grieving over an unfaithful spouse or a straying child. They may be struggling with a personal sin or an emotional battle. Some people carry with them doubts about their faith, fear for the future, worries about money, and a whole lot of emotional pain.
What should we do? I think first of all we need to give people hope for healing and wholeness from the Word of God. Next we need to be patient with them and not expect them to be instantly sanctified and victorious. Another thing we need to do is to give people permission to be honest and admit their struggles. If everyone goes around with a religious mask on no one will be helped. God tells us in His Word in Col. 4:6: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one”.
We need to stop shooting our own wounded. We never know when we will be one of them.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation