Ye are the salt of the Earth. Yet, if the salt is no longer full of savor and pleasing to the taste, what good is it, then, but to be thrown out to be trampled under foot.
So many believers tell me they struggle with fear and anxiety. The prayer of faith may usher them into God’s Grace and salvation, but the souls of many believers are in torment. They were in torment before they believed, and the torment continues. This fear and anxiety is often bound up in their work ethic. Somehow, they can never do enough. They sense that God is distant or has left them altogether because of something they did — or something they didn’t do.
As children, we are given rewards for behavior, acting “good,” and doing work, such as cleaning a room. Learning responsibility is important. But those responsibilities cannot come before love.
In my husband’s home, work was practically worshipped. Even relationships revolved around work. Intimacy was traded for working around the house, a honey-do list. Each partner shouldered a duty to the other to perform certain tasks. It was a silent understanding. Love was best expressed in the therapy of hard work, in what people did for each other. And it bred resentment.
But work is not intimacy, as I soon learned when, silently, my husband’s work-mates became more demanding of his time. Soon, if he was not working, my husband hid himself away in an office talking on the phone to his fellow employees. Work formed a wall between us. Instead of our little family having together time, our son and I became a duo, making a life without the head of our household, even though my husband was just down the hall.
I began to understand something that went beyond our relationship. Work is a convenient avoidance tactic for people who are afraid of intimacy. But those who fear intimacy are not afraid of their partners. Those who fear intimacy are afraid of themselves.
And, so, what does this have to do with salt?
We’ve been sold a lie, and that lie is that we must work our way to God or that we have to do certain works to please God.
In my own life, this translated to a giant “thing,” something great I was supposed to do for the Lord. I was in the Lord’s army now, and He obviously needed me. What He called me to do was so important. Everything else had to take a back seat, right?
Well, not exactly.
First, God does not need me. He loves me, but, in no way am I qualified to help Him. Second, putting all our free time into serving in the church or launching a music ministry isn’t any healthier than when we give all our time to a secular job. What gets lost is the same. Family, friendships, intimacy. Time spent in fellowship with God flies out of our lives.
People have said to me, “But, I’m doing the Lord’s work.”
I find this a sad statement. Because Jesus warns us in the Gospels that many will make this same argument with Him, and He will have to respond, “Depart from me: I never knew you.”
“Fine, but I still don’t understand what this has to do with salt!” You might be thinking.
One morning this week, the Lord quieted my Spirit. I was thinking about all the things I had to do: Working at home; ordering food because supplies were unreliable in stores; praying for the sick and for friends who had lost family to the virus; an editing job; after-hours training I had to do. I had been reading Paul’s encouraging words about the return of Jesus to gather believers. I saw a parallel between Matthew’s account of Christ’s “Salt of the Earth” speech and the term “Restrainer” in 1 Thessalonians 4. “Now He who restrains will keep on restraining the evil until He be taken out of the way.”
The Lord spoke in my spirit and said, “Now do you see what it means to be the salt? I never said you had to achieve saltiness. I said you ARE. Do you see what is your most important work? It is preserving this world from the onslaught of evil to come by allowing my grace to work in and through you as part of My Body.”
“But we Christians are supposed to evangelize the world,” I thought. And then it hit me. The 144,000 will bring in a record number of believers. The Christian “era” has been fraught with failure, overreaching, misinterpretation, materialism, apostasy. But the Church is still here. The gates of hell did not prevail against it. Why would God allow such a gigantic failure to continue century after century?
Because it isn’t a failure. Because God doesn’t need us. We need Him.
And as far as evangelism goes, God Himself is doing that now. Without the help of a building fund or a missions program. He is doing this through His Body.
I saw it plainly. We don’t have to do anything to serve as the preservative except to do the work of the most important commandment: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Our job is to grow closer to Yeshua, in communion with Him, and to pray, interceding for those too weak to fight for themselves in the spiritual battle for their lives.
In the same way, if we want great kids, we must love our life partner and love our kids, demonstrating that love rather than providing “helpful” criticism. In fact, if we would stop altogether such help, God would be most pleased.
This preserving labor is not work. It is the kind of labor of love we can do in quarantine, under stay-at-home orders. This restraining force, this “saltiness,” is the true work of every believer. Yes, some are called to preach and prophesy, but no more will we see media campaigns, big marketing plans for mega best selling books, and itineraries for big names drawing crowds in the thousands.
Now, it will be homes, parking lots, coffee shops. Phone calls.
Now is the time for all believers to rise up in their living rooms, not to achieve fame and amass a fortune, but to pray, fast, and just to be. We are to be sober-minded, vigilant, expecting the Lord’s return at any moment, shining the light from within in this dark place in time. We are to be transformed and not conformed to the twisted value system of this present darkness.
Our true work is prayer. That is the quiet labor of a day. We are keeping unchained evil at bay for another day. Tomorrow.