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Listen while you read: "Jesus Loves Even Me"1 (Lyrics)
I was reading a book about camel caravans in the desert and the kinds of goods that they transported from one place to another. It reminded me of the time when I lived in the desert in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman in 1965-1966. At that time, living conditions in many places in Oman were still very much as we imagine them to have been in Bible times.
Near our project site at the Gulf of Oman, there was a long, flat beach which almost totally flooded at high tide. When the water receded, there would be many shallow pools in which there would be a few inches of sea water. During the day in the very hot sun, this water would evaporate, and a quantity of sea salt would remain. This would be gathered up, put into bags to sell locally, and was also taken to the interior on camels. We used to see these camel trains going into or coming out of the desert quite often. The traders also took other commodities such as dried fish, imported goods, and foodstuffs brought in by boat from other areas along the coast. These items were not available to the people in the interior, and the traders would bring back dates and figs, as well as other goods which were grown or made by the desert people. There was a healthy trade between the people living near the sea and those living in the towns and villages in the interior, and salt was of high value as a commodity.
Likewise, salt was also important in Bible times as well:
Leviticus 2:13a – Season all your grain offerings with salt. (NIV)
Salt was an important part of the offering because it signified purity, preservation, and expense. Salt was expensive and hard to come by. Then Jesus compared His followers to salt:
Matthew 5:13a – You are the salt of the earth. (NIV)
Jesus was saying to His disciples and His followers, "You are the salt; you are precious and pure; you are valued. You should be a preserving influence on your culture. Without you, the evils of the world would permeate through all of society."
And then Jesus continued His statement on salt:
Matthew 5:13 – But if the salt loses its saltiness, how shall it be made salty again? (NIV)
Back in Jesus' day, if the people discovered that their salt had lost its preserving qualities, they would just throw it out on the streets, and it would be trampled into the ground by those people and animals using the street.
This passage is a warning to us Christians: if we lose our flavour — or we could say, if our beliefs become watered down — if our words and actions do not display true faith in Christ, then we lose our influence, and we are of little value to the kingdom of God.
Think about it: has our religious practice lost its flavour? Are we still of value to do God's work?
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You that You have chosen us to be the salt of the earth. It is our prayer that we will not lose our faith in You and be trampled under foot by the sins of the world. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Very interesting story, Joel, and great application.
Thank you, Joel, for your encouragement to be the salt of the earth. Keep
Blessings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Good one Joel and very applicable to the church today.
You have led an interesting life!
Thank you for this writing.
Our world is falling apart in so many ways these days but as Christians we must stay strong and keep our faith in our Lord.
Blessings to you.
Thank you. I enjoyed your writing. As I am canning my garden produce right now, I often think of the preserving value of the pickling salt. We have an abandoned salt mine near us and when my kids were young, we would tramp in and lug out bottles of water to evaporate and magically make salt. We spoke of losing our saltiness.
Keep up God’s good work.
Good morning, Joel.
This is a very interesting message, and your personal experience makes it all the more so. I had never thought of the “value” put on salt – and that in God’s eyes it shows His value of us (and me), as part of His family. It is also a good reminder of our (my) need to keep our (my) eyes on Jesus: the example of “watered-down beliefs” is so apt in this world at this time.
Thank you, and God bless you!
Thank you, Joel, for another inspiration that has me thinking where I have failed, and times I have given my best even when I am not aware. I always ask the Lord to make me a blessing for each day but I don’t have to know what, where, to who. They may not even be aware of what a stranger did or said. I’m such a people person and fine myself in conversation with many people shopping. I’m very careful and move on when I sense that I should. I pray that I will use the salt wisely. Keep your Devotional’s of inspiration coming and continue to be a blessing to all.
Thank you for a very fine devotional.
I pray that all Christians will increase in saltiness, for Jesus’ sake and the people of the world’s sake.
Good morning. “Watered down” our faith being watered down. I have walked with Jesus for over forty years.
As of the past, possibly five years, there has been a spiritual battle, in me, to downplay Christ. Him being everything, in everything, necessary for everything to live a godly life. Several family, friends have added to their beliefs, or removed some biblical teaching, the pull is powerful to make God a god of my making, watered down. The struggle is fierce, constant and sneaky. Thank you for your message. As with Elijah, God has many who have not bowed their knee to Baal.
Hope today is a good day!
Joel, What a lovely analogy you used with salt and the intensity of our faith. Such a good message. I also enjoy reading about your travel experiences!
Thank you, Joel, your devotional gave me much to reflect on, especially now with our beliefs being watered down, so being salt for Christ is so important not had it compared with the illustration you gave good food for thought with a little salt on it!! God Bless.