Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Salty Influence

At a CG I recently visited, the topic of discussion was on Jesus calling his disciples “the salt of the earth”. Someone shared that salt dissolves and dissipates into the dish to which it is added. The dish itself is very much larger than the tiny amount of salt that is added. Yet, it is able to influence the taste of the dish. In the same way, Christians can exercise influence over a body of people much larger than themselves.

In what ways can we as Christians influence a body of people larger than us? I believe God has entrusted us with the task of preserving his goodness in this world. So we must always reflect to see how we are doing this. Being Christians, it is very natural to attract the attention of people around us. Our colleagues, relatives and friends observe our values that come out in the things we are passionate about. Do we engage them with bawdy jokes and stories just to be one of the crowd? They will see how we treat others in our midst - the foreigners, our subordinates, even how we attend to our children. They watch and they see how we act and react to circumstances. If our desire is to live up to the salt that we are in Christ, then every moment people see us is a glorious moment to show them the goodness of God. Therefore, we must commit ourselves to preserving God’s goodness around us. This is because we may be the only Bible these people will read.

Another thing that surfaced was that salt has healing properties. I remember, in my younger days, whenever I had a tooth taken out, the first thing my mother did was to dissolve salt in water and make me gargle and wash the cavity out. It was to help the healing process. During Jesus’ time, salt was used as an antiseptic. I remember reading somewhere that when little babies were born, they were given a saline bath to ward off infection. Christians too can bring healing into people’s lives. There will always be people around us who need acceptance and comfort for their failures and brokenness. They need people who will hold them up, speak healing words and let them know, even though down, they are still not crushed and beyond hope.

Different dishes require different amounts of salt. So it is with people we attend to. How much we give of ourselves to non–Christians depends on what is going on in his or her life. It could be that the person has some special need for compassion or comfort or some other unique need in some way. That involves a sacrifice of time and resources and makes us vulnerable.

However, just as salt has to interact with the dish to influence its flavour, we too have to interact with people to influence their lives. Salt is no use if it remains on the shelf or in the shaker. In the same way, Christians cannot influence the world if we simply remain in our churches and small groups. We exist for the purpose of being involved with non-Christians. We need to manifest a willingness to go out and let non-Christians enter our lives. We need to know them as people honestly and earnestly. That is why one of our core values is “Outreach for Christ”.

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