Salt of the earth

We’ve all probably engaged in a little hand-wringing about the future of our country. What will happen, we ask, if we continue heading down a path that ignores God, flaunts rebellion, and mocks righteousness? What will it look like when our kids or grandkids become adults? Will God turn his back on us?

Those questions, though unavoidable, do little good. What Jesus said about anxiety applies here—worrying about the future accomplishes nothing. But thankfully, there’s something we can do, and Jesus refers to it here:

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot (Matthew 5:13).

When we think of salt, we probably think of the flavor it adds to our meals, but in Jesus’ world its most basic function was to preserve food. And that seems to fit the context here best as well—Jesus is calling us to slow down the decay and corruption of the world around us.

Abraham once had a fascinating conversation with God about how many righteous people it would take to save Sodom. “Will you spare the city if it has 50 righteous souls living there?” Abraham asked. God said yes. “Forty-five?” Again, God said yes.

So Abraham asked about 40, 30, 20, and finally 10. God would withhold his destruction if only a handful of righteous people could be found.

I’ve often thought that God has blessed America because we’ve honored him in many ways. We’ve protected religious freedoms and maintained conservative morals. Our leaders have listened to Christian voices, and we’ve preserved many aspects of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Isn’t there a connection between those facts and our country’s prosperity?

A strong argument could be made that those things are changing, of course. Recent trends seem to reflect an increasingly secular, anti-God mindset.

Even so, it still does no good to wring our hands and decry the loss of our country’s Christian foundation.

What Jesus tells us to do is keep being the salt. None of us have any idea how long God will spare our nation, but what we must do is to follow Jesus and model him to the people around us. We need to sanctify him in our homes. We need to teach our children and grandchildren to love him more than anything in the world. We need to adore him, worship him, serve him.

It was a tragedy that even 10 righteous souls couldn’t be found in Sodom, and God destroyed the city.

What about us? Is there enough righteousness for God to keep his protective arms around us?

That’s his decision, of course, but regardless, he’s challenged us to be those righteous souls, to be the preservative in our spheres of influence.

He’s calling us to be salt.

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