Insight from the Journey across the Sky
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matt. 5:13).
Well winter has finally arrived in Western Pennsylvania. This morning as I traveled to church, or slid along the frozen roadway, I came to a short hill along which several cars where ditched along the sides. I knew from experience, continuing along this route would not be wise. I slowed to a stop and decided on my next move. I watched as a few cars passed the ditched vehicles with caution and determined that I could move forward rather slowly and find a nice place along the berm of the road to park until the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) could salt the roadway.
I no sooner pulled off the road when my cell phone began to ring with messages from the church family asking how I was and how the roads where. I told them I was stopped along the road awaiting the arrival of the salt truck. Before long the phone rang again and the message this time was church was canceled and there was no need to continue on to church.
Okay at least I did not have to worry about getting to the church on time. But here I sat along the roadway awaiting the arrival of a salt truck.
Although the mixture of salty brine and de-icer wrecks havoc on a car’s finish, driving in winter in the northeast would be almost impossible without this wintertime road treatment. In fact the only time anyone wishes to be behind a slow moving salt truck, is when the roadways are hazardous and the driver knows that the salt solution being applied to the roadway is going to make their journey onward much safer. So they dutifully follow slowly behind the salt spreader, thankful for it’s arrival.
It was less than twenty minutes when the salt truck had arrived. I quickly fell in behind the truck and headed back toward home. The assurance of knowing the roadway beneath my wheels had been treated made the return trip less stressful. The closer I got to home the better the road surface became. Finally, back home, I was thankful that I was not involved in an accident and that no one was hurt along the stretch of highway I had traveled.
Anyone who lives in the frozen Northeast knows all too well the importance of proper road maintenance. We are very mindful of the road conditions once wintertime sets in. Our tax dollars are well spent in stockpiling the road crew’s depots with plenty of road salt. That is one expense I gladly pay for.
Salt has many useful purposes. For example did you know salt is essential for muscle movement, including that of the heart. It’s necessary for the digestive tract to function properly –crucial for the transmission of messages by the nerve cells, and regulated osmotic pressure and the movement of fluid to and from the cell. Salt is found in blood, sweat, and tears. Hotter climates increase the need for salt consumption. Chronic deprivation of salt causes loss of weight, loss of appetite, nausea, muscular cramps and even stunts growth.
In the food industry, it is used in flavoring and seasoning, pickling, canning, preserving, baking, dairying, curing meat and fish, and processing flour and other foods. Salt is a binder, a texturizer, and a fermentation control agent. Other useful applications include oil well drilling, and fertilizing!
And of course when applied to the roadways salt:
· Melts ice and snow
· Gives traction
· Leaves behind a residue
· Provides safe passage on the highways where applied
· Long lasting
· Proven to work at even very low temperatures
· Goes to work as soon as it is applied
So as you see salt has many useful purposes. However if salt looses those useful properties, then it becomes good for nothing.
Faith in Christ has much the same attributes as road salt, when you think about it a little. I mean faith, when applied to a life sliding along the slippery slope of life’s byways, provides sure-footedness, safe passage, has long lasting effects (it is eternal), is proven to work under the worst circumstances, starts to work as soon as it is applied, melts the sin hardened heart and thaws the coldest sin sick soul, and leaves behind evidence of it being applied to a life.
There are four “modern horsemen of the apocalypse,” according to Dr. Richard Land in remarks delivered to the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, and they are “riding forth to wreak havoc and destruction in our society.” Land listed the four as the denial of the sanctity of human life, the rise of hardcore Internet pornography, the radical homosexual agenda’s attempt to undermine marriage, and radical Islamic jihadist.
The inactive, rudderless Church
If the church of Jesus Christ, whose congregations number in the hundreds of millions in America, was doing what it was supposed to be doing (“… created in Christ Jesus to do good works”), a whole host of problems would be taken care of in short order. Indeed, instead of focusing on the four horsemen of the apocalypse, we may do well to concentrate heaviest on the salt supply. An inactive and ineffective church, ignoring the call to be holy, is as bad as a culture can hope for. Faith used only within the confines of worship but remains unreleased into the world, is really not faith at all.
Let’s face it, what good is a supply-yard full of salt, if there are no trucks to spread it on dangerous roadways? What good does a truck load of salt do a stranded motorist if the salt never gets applied to the roadway they are traveling? What good does the gospel do confined within the supply yard of the local church if it never gets carried outside to be applied to slippery byways of life? What good is a full salt shaker if it only sits on the tabletop and is never used?
Although there may be a plentiful supply of salt in the world, there seems to be a shortage of salt spreaders.
When the church isn’t the salt of the earth or the light of the world, disaster awaits.
But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)
Along for the journey