Salt, Light, and Lack of Charisma

At church last Sunday, the preacher talked again about Christians being salt and light in the world, a la Matthew 5:13-16.

I thought that he would say the same things that he said last week, and, in some cases, he did.  But he also presented new material.

He shared with us some things that he had learned about salt.  Salt was precious in the ancient world, and people sometimes even paid in salt; similarly, he said, we are precious to God.

Salt was cleansing.  Similarly, Christians have a cleansing effect on the world through their words and example.

Salt puts out fires.  Similarly, Christians help deliver people from the fires of hell by sharing the Gospel with them.

The preacher talked about being a light.  As an example, he referred to a situation in which there was a catastrophe at work, and he was smiling, and people wondered what was the matter with him.  But he was smiling because he knew whom he served.  When people ask him what is the matter with him, he gets to share with them about Jesus.

The preacher said that it is important for Christians to lift up the name of God before the world.  That is light.

The preacher also said that we do not necessarily have to be persuasive or charismatic to be salt and light.  We need, however, to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and surrendered to God.

I’ll comment on that last item.  I have vacillated in how I have viewed that.  I used to believe it, then I did not believe it.  Now I believe it, albeit with modification.  I think that I used to believe it in the sense that I thought that, notwithstanding my lack of charisma, God could still use me to make a powerful difference for him, which would make me popular and feed my own ego.  When that did not happen, I was disappointed.  Now, I believe that God can still use un-charismatic people, whether or not they pack auditoriums.  Sometimes, God may anoint them so that they do pack auditoriums.  But God can also use them in low-key ways.

I’ll stop here.

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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