1999-07-08 - The Salt Shaker
Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (NAS)
The memory of Cassie Bernall has been placed in front of me several times this week. I wonder if Cassie Bernall understood the idea of being salt and light to the world around her. She lived it, and continues to be salt and light even after her death a few weeks ago. Cassie was a 17-year-old student at Columbine High School in Colorado. To the credit of the ABC Network, Peggy Wehmeyer covered Cassie's story with a very positive view of the faith in Jesus Christ that Cassie lived. The story told America how a very troubled teen had been turned from bitter rebellion to faith strong enough to look down the barrel of a rifle and stand for Who she believed.
Christianity in America is a sort of sub-culture. We have Christian music and radio stations, Christian bookstores, schools and conferences. One article pointed out that for many parents, the Columbine shootings were the last straw and they are pulling their kids out of public school in favor of private school, home schooling or Christian schools. I understand their feelings. In no way do I feel their feelings are unjustifiable. There is, however, a danger in this general line of thinking.
In order for salt to be effective, it must be sprinkled on to the meat and rubbed into it to permeate and preserve the meat against rotting. If a shaker, or even a 20 pound bag of salt is set next to the meat, even in full view of the meat, the meat will still spoil. If Christianity pulls out of society, our effectiveness will be reduced to zero. We will have become tasteless to the world we are supposed to preserve.
John 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (NAS)
Many times this death is to our pride, or to self to reach out and minister to people around us. We are often called to give our lives in degrees, learning to trust God a little more each day. Four men were martyred at the hands of South American Indians in full view of the wives. The next day, the women walked into that same village where they husbands had been slain the day before and led the leaders of the tribe to faith in Jesus. The widows were all told how bravely the men met their deaths - it made a distinct impression. The men had been killed, but not defeated
The bravery and faith with which Cassie met her death has impressed a nation. She spoke with her life. The change Jesus made in that life were noteworthy. Her martyrdom has opened the doors for many to ask questions, and others to come to know the Jesus Cassie knew - the One that changes lives. The thief on the cross who asked the Lord to remember him never had a chance to tell someone about the change Jesus Christ had made in his life. Still his plea and Jesus' acceptance of him have touched lives down through the ages. He was no more conscious of the impact of his statement than Cassie was. But both have born much fruit.
The change in Cassie began with friends around her who talked her into coming to a youth group meeting, or just talked with her about Jesus. Those friends poured salt and light in the life of a young lady who had planned to murder her parents. They preserved because they were in the world, but not of it. They got out of their comfort zone, out of the salt shaker. And because of that they made a difference that has created ripples that are still touching lives and shaking the world. The need for a place to rest and learn, the Christian sub-culture, is not unimportant. But the saltiness of all of Christendom will not have an effect on the world if does not get out of the shaker.
Lord Jesus - down through the ages there have been men and women whose lives where salt and light for You. Teach us by their example to be faithful in the big things and the little things so our lives will become effective salt and light to people we come in contact with in our daily walk. Amen.
Grace & Peace,