Wrap Up: You Are The Salt Of The Earth
Matthew 5.13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people.”
How do you measure your success? And does God promise wealth, promotions and such? And business growth? I’m sure you’ve heard of many Christ-followers who have succeeded monetarily and many have gotten fame. Undoubtedly you’ve also heard of many others who haven’t. That’s the problem with case studies—the articles, videos, and other media expressions of successful people. It’s all we see and so we think we can be just like them if we just do the same things they do. Scientists don’t write up experiments which failed to challenge a common conclusion. Similarly, nobody writes about all of us who do the same things the famous people do and found ourselves in the same old rut. For every five people who do win using method XYZ, there may be a thousand who don’t.
Some business leaders latch onto Proverbs 16.3: “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established/achieved (will succeed).” We might all trust this Proverb: “Good planning and hard work leads to prosperity” (21.5). But we don’t like reading Ecclesiastes 9.11: “The [best] don’t always succeed.” Or Proverbs 28.20: The faithful will be blessed but not the person wanting to be rich. Or any of the many passages in Job like “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” (2.10) Chick-Fil-A might be thriving having committed their company to the Lord and keeping the Sabbath day. LifeWay bookstores is basically kaput even though they also were committed to the Lord and not open on Sundays too.
Israel was a territory of less than 40,000 square miles. Babylon, Assyria and Egypt were larger than Israel in its heydays of Joshua, King David and King Solomon. During this period Persia basically controlled the entire Middle East. Even the Mayan Empire in Central America was four times larger than Israel. The Shang Rulers controlled an area twelve times larger in East Asia around the same time. If I was Joshua or King David, I would have prayed, “Lord, You’ve made us a great kingdom. You’ve given us this wonderful territory and lots of victories. How about we continue our conquest so we may become as large as Egypt or Babylon? You promised Abraham that his descendants would be a blessing to all the nations. We could be if You let us conquer them.” But the Lord said, “No, My plans for you are not to control the territories but to influence the territories. To be a light to them all. You do not need to be big to do that.”
Abraham didn’t own any land except where he buried his wife, Sarah. He had one son. He had two grandsons. One grandson, Jacob, took his eleven sons and families to Egypt. They numbered 70. Yet Abraham descendants would be like the stars. “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
You do not need to have authority or control over your organization in order to make changes. You can affect changes by being a role model in Christ’s image. I influenced many organizations from the lower tiers of the hierarchy by operating with integrity, respect and dignity. With peace, joy, love, patience, kindness and self-control. I influenced my immediate team and we influenced other teams with whom we interacted. Even though they were not Christ followers they still were the salt and light to the organizations. Eventually, those efforts rippled out where others who were awaiting new behaviors, thoughts and management practices joined the bandwagon.
Christ is talking to people on this hillside who have little control over their lives. They do not have the big house, the new car, invitations to the poshest parties and influence at City Hall. They are not blessed in the way the world measures blessedness. They are blessed because of their citizenship in His kingdom. To confirm this, Christ doesn’t say, “You will be the salt of the earth…You will be light of the world…when you straighten up.” He said, “You are the salt of the earth… the light of the world…a city on a hill.” You may be poor in spirit and hunger for righteousness, but you are blessed. So act like it!