2005-01-20 - Influence
Mark 9:49-50 "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." (NAS)
I was checking the weather map this afternoon. It was snowing pretty hard outside and I wanted to get an idea of how much snow to expect. Something caught my eye. The line where the snow turned to sleet and where the sleet turned to rain was off the east coast and followed the shape of the coastline. Very cold air had come down from Canada and was giving us a wintry treat in the form of our first snow storm. But the cold air apparently warmed quickly over the ocean to the point where the influence of the ocean was clearly evident.
Salt is a symbol of friendship and fidelity in eastern nations. If we have this salt in ourselves as a community, if the Holy Spirit lives and rules in us and we are tending to our spiritual health, then we will have peace within the community of faith. Jesus uses salt as a reference to the health of our spiritual relationship with Him. Salt also has the ability to preserve food and was seen as having a purifying or perpetuating influence. Salt rubbed into a slab of meat will keep it from spoiling for many days without refrigeration.
The preserving power of this spiritual salt in our lives can have influence, just like the ocean water has influence over the weather, to the people around us. The ocean doesn't have to do anything to extend the influence it has. The ocean has a natural affect on the environment. It is a quality of the ocean to be cool more slowly than land. The salt in us can have an influence over the people around us, often without is doing anything. This is true as long as the quality of the salt, our spiritual health and preserving power of salvation, is maintained within us, we will have a natural influence over the people around us.
This begs the rather unusual question, "How salty are we?" Is your salt shaker half full? Or are you a cubic yard block of salt? Or, as a community, are we a salt deposit of 30,000 trillion tons that provides salt to the nations?
Will we have bad days and good days? Sure. Today I think my shaker was barely half full. I had one of those days today that I would just rather forget. One problem after another came, sometimes in groups, to our office. It seemed as though it would never stop. Of course, it finally did. But the question remains; what was my influence? What about the salt content of our lives and the influence it can have on our co-workers, friends and neighbors. The world will try to wash your saltiness away. The good news is that your salt is renewable in prayer, singing and praise, Bible reading and fellowship. The more this salty faith becomes part of our lives, the more natural it should become to lean on that faith for strength in trying times. It is far better to hold on to that half shaker of salt than to throw it to the wind in frustration.
If your shaker is too close to empty, take a little time to fill it up. If yours is full, help someone else fill theirs.
Grace & Peace,