To The Source had a great article by Dallas Willard today. Willard teaches philosophy at the University of Southern California, and is the author of the well known book, Celebration of Discipline. The quote that stood out to me is this:
The constant drumbeat of moral failure and incompetence now heard from American institutions–from the universities and scientific or artistic communities to business corporations, the Church and sports–simply would not exist if Jesus were trusted and obeyed. There would be no sexual harassment, no gutted savings and loans, no homelessness or gang violence in a society that substantially accepted Christian principles of life. It is not the Christian who loses when social prejudice goes against Christ, but the society itself.
This also makes it all the more imperative that we who are in the Body of Christ function as the salt of the earth, (Matthew 5:13). In the original Greek the phrase, “You are the salt of the earth” is emphatic, it is like Jesus is saying, “you are My disciples and no others are the salt of the earth.” There is no plan B for this. We are it. No bench to draw from, we are all starters. Are you in the game? I hope so! Because if we lose our saltiness we have become ineffective in being a Kingdom witness. What does salt do? It flavors. It preserves. It makes people thirsty (you don’t think bars give pretzels & peanuts to their customers out of the kindness of their hearts do you?). Flavor your surroundings, your environment – the last thing a Christian should be is dull. Preserve your environment – neighborhood, workplace, school, etc for Christ. Don’t allow it to sink to the lowest common denominator. When you are around the environment should be different than when you are not there (for good I hope). Live your life in such a way that you are making those around you thirsty for God.
Quite frankly those who don’t know Christ should notice a difference when you are around. Another thing about salt – to serve as a preservative it needs to be rubbed hard into the substance it is preserving. We need to penetrate deep into our culture and influence it for Christ. I praise God when I see Christian college students who have a biblical worldview (and that is key if you are going to function as salt, otherwise you are just like the world around you) getting into public education. If you think the public schools are bad now, imagine them without Christians. When Christ-followers get into the arts – we should encourage that. Science, social work, and yes even politics – running for public office and behind the scenes – be salt.
As Willard said, it isn’t just the Church that suffers, but society as well.
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