“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot..”
Are you troubled by what you seen happening to our country? Are you disturbed by the violence, lawlessness, depravity and godlessness? Do you wonder what you as one person can do?
At a time of great national distress, the British Broadcasting Company asked C. S. Lewis to give a series of radio talks to a nation daily enduring V-2 rocket attacks, Luftwaffe bombings, and threatened invasion. Lewis’ talks were transcribed and published as the now classic book Mere Christianity. In one of Lewis’ broadcasts, he draws upon wartime imagery to illustrate what it means to follow Jesus in times of national peril: “Enemy occupied territory – this is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”
I read Lewis’ imagery and today’s scripture and sense the rightful king Jesus calling us to quiet, undercover acts of “sabotage” by being “the salt of the earth.” As Jesus talks to listeners on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, salt was essential for preserving the fish caught by fishermen like Peter and Andrew from rot. Without salt, the fish would quickly spoil, but with salt fish were sent as far away as Rome. Jesus is warning that without the preserving power of His followers as salt, the culture is doomed to decay. In the context of this scripture, Jesus is calling His followers to a campaign of sabotage against the Enemy, by hungering for righteousness, being merciful, making peace, acting in humility, and even blessing those who oppose and persecute them (Matthew 5:1-11). Jesus is counting on them, and us!
William Penn was one of those devout followers of Jesus who founded the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the prayer that it might be established on the teachings of Jesus. On May 5, 1682, Penn set forth what he called “The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania” in which he said,
“Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them, and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But if men be bad, let the government be never so good they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.”
Read today’s news and see how much our country needs followers of Jesus to be “the salt of the earth”, acting as preservatives against the decay. Whenever I feel discouraged about what difference I as one person can make, I remember the words of 19th century minister and historian Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.”
Jesus is counting on me! Counting on you! After all, Jesus did say it: “You are the salt of the earth”!
A fellow traveler,