When Jesus calls his followers the “salt of the earth,” one implication is that they are to be the flavor that brings bland living to life. Christians are supposed to live the most attractive lives and carry the most joy, regardless of their circumstance.
We should throw the best parties, hold the greatest traditions, and have the healthiest families. Our marriages should thrive, growing more intimate as time goes by. Our friendships should be the most authentic and meaningful.
Followers of Christ should have lives that others want, and I don’t just mean other Christians. People who do not know Christ should be attracted to the depth and richness of the lives we live. According to Jesus, they should even start to praise our Heavenly Father as they watch us live our lives (Matthew 5:16). This is one aspect of what it means to be the salt – the savoring quality of life on the earth today.
As the salt of the earth, Christians should also be the most creative people on the planet. Whether artists, teachers, government officials, or movie producers, followers of Christ have access to a realm of creativity and inspiration that goes beyond someone who does not follow Jesus. This is not because they are more naturally gifted, but because the empowerment of the Holy Spirit which God freely gives those who trust in Christ. Christians should be setting the standard in the world of art and entertainment because their natural gifts of creativity are combined with the very inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, neither of these ideals are the reality for the Christian community as a whole in America. Generally, we are not living lives that people outside the Kingdom of God are excited to join in on. If anything, many Christians have the opposite effect, pushing people further away from the idea of following Jesus and identifying with Christianity.
We are not the ones making the best art in culture and we are not leading the way in entertainment. Instead, many Christians choose, sometimes unconsciously, to escape mainstream culture by only listening to Christian radio, not getting involved in community activities outside the church, or never spending quality time with people who don’t share their beliefs. It might not be an intentional effort, but nonetheless the negative result is a Christian subculture that lives for itself, creates stuff for itself, and often impacts only itself.
What would it look like for Christians to really take the nickname “salt of the earth” seriously?
Should we just settle for living in the Christian subculture, or instead offer our gifts, talents, and passions to the world around us?