Have you ever walked by a cubicle, park, or neighborhood and thought to yourself, “Those people really need Jesus. They are really lost. I wish someone would go and reach out to them”? I know that those thoughts have crossed my mind many times as I go about life. Then the Lord will gently remind me of the passage that many of us have probably heard multiple times in Sunday School…
“You are the salt of the earth. But if 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. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” – Matthew 5:13-15
We often think of salt as adding flavor to our food. There is no doubt that a hardboiled egg tastes a lot better with some salt sprinkled on top. In the time of Jesus, there was no refrigeration, so salt was a valuable commodity to preserve food and especially to keep meat from spoiling. Roman soldiers were known to sometimes be paid in salt, hence where we get the term “salary” and the phrase that “someone is worth their salt.”
In a similar way, as followers of Jesus, we are to be a preserving agent in our world by allowing the hope that we have to be spread around to others. This only works if we truly embrace our “saltiness” and intentionally be around those that need our “salt”–our faith in Jesus. Our problem is that we, being the salt of the earth, tend to want to stay in the salt shaker. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate of believers being in fellowship with other believers. However, sometimes we are so connected in church meetings and activities that we have very few meaningful relationships with those outside the church. We have Sunday church services, LIFEgroups, Moms’ meetings, Men’s Bible studies, BBQ’s, the Harvest Party, retreats, camps, mission outreaches… you get the point.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate of believers being in fellowship with other believers. However, sometimes we are so connected in church meetings and activities that we have very few meaningful relationships with those outside the church. We have Sunday church services, LIFEgroups, Moms’ meetings, Men’s Bible studies, BBQ’s, the Harvest Party, retreats, camps, mission outreaches… you get the point.
Here are a few ways to intentionally get out of the salt shaker and more into the lives of others so that we may have an impact for Jesus:
Build Relationships with the Unsaved:
Look to cultivate deeper connections with those outside the church. This could be your workplace, the coffee shop, coaches and parents of your kid’s soccer team, your neighbors, the checker at the grocery store, those at the gym… the list could go on and on. Let’s take out the earbuds and seek to get to know those around us. Because of the hope we have, we should be some of the friendliest people out there.
Ask questions and then LISTEN:
Learn to ask questions about their lives, family, and interests. Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves. Ask engaging questions and then listen, listen, listen. For good measure, reiterate some of what they communicated back to them. This lets them know that you are truly interested. To be a good listener who doesn’t interrupt, doesn’t try to top a story, and refrains from drifting off is truly counter-cultural.
Look for opportunities to share your Jesus story:
If you are a follower of Jesus, you have a story of how He has pursued you, rescued you, and changed you. I believe that every Christian should be able to communicate the story of what their life was like before Jesus, how they met Jesus, and what their life has been like ever since. We live in a culture that appreciates and values stories–when you tell your story, people tend to lean in–but keep in mind, you should be able to give the brief version of your story in three to four minutes.
Serve these around you:
Now that you are building these relationships, look for simple ways to serve them. An elderly woman down our street uses a walker, so I brought over some nine-volt batteries to change out the old ones in her smoke detector, and she was overjoyed. Be ready to jump at ways to be a servant and remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be complex.
Let’s be praying that the Lord would use these relationships to open doors for spiritual conversations. Jesus says that “we have not because we ask not.” So, let’s ASK. Ask them if they have any spiritual beliefs and see where it might lead. And then invite the non-believers in your life to a church event, Christmas Eve service, and Sunday morning services.
Let’s be the salt and light in our world!
We don’t have to go to Cambodia, Kenya, or Mexico to be on mission for Jesus. Engage the “world” right here where we live, work, and play!