Monday, March 31, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked - Salt (1)

[Note: I want to pick up on a series I began in January 2007 called Questions Jesus Asked. I only made four posts back then, so, to get going again, I'm going to repost those posts and then continue the series /D]

As I begin this series of questions Jesus asked, I want to be clear that this does not make up the full teachings of Christ. However, I do think we can learn a lot from His questions & I’m really curious to see where this takes us.

I just started in Matthew – and the first questions Jesus asks is recorded in Matthew 5:13 where He asks – “What good is salt if it has lost its saltiness? Can you make it salty again?”

Okay, I could totally understand a, “Yeah, that’s helpful – what in the world is He talking about” thought to this question. And while I don’t want to make this a book – I think a little background would be real helpful.

A good starting point is to remember the culture and time frame in which Jesus was teaching – they did not have freezers and microwaves. They had not figured out how to stuff food with so many preservatives that their shelf life is longer than our average life span. So, one use for salt was to preserve foods. Part of what we can learn from this question is Jesus was talking to His followers saying, I want you to do good things and preserve goodness. I want you to be a positive influence on those around you.

Another use for salt was for cleaning. Have you ever rubbed salt in a wound? I don’t recommend it – but the truth is it will clean out a wound. So, another potential teaching here is – bring healing to those you come in contact with. While sometimes the truth stings a little, the cleansing is worth it and will bring healing – and that’s a good thing.

I’m sure there are more analogies we could make, but I’ll make just one more. Have you ever heard, “That guy or girl is worth their salt”? It’s kind of an old saying, but it came from the fact that soldiers use to be paid in salt. So, someone who was doing well was, “worth their salt.” Today, our society has changed, so a similar statement we may hear is, “That girl is worth her weight in gold.” Same idea. So, what could we learn from this aspect of being “salt”? I think its fair to say that Jesus would want His followers to make a positive difference. To have relationships that others say, “I’m glad you’re my friend. We don’t always see eye to eye, but your friendship is worth it.”

So, a couple of things from this first question that we can learn – Jesus wants us to be a positive influence, a healer, and be someone worth having a relationship with. Cool stuff! But if we really look at the way He asked the question – He’s saying if were not all of these things – what good are we?

I think I need to look at how I interact with those around me and make sure I’m “worth my salt.” How about you?


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