Out of the Saltshaker (Christians and Politics)

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” – Matthew 5:13

My family was in the salt business for three generations. My grandfather, after some years working for a salt company, quit his job and started his own company. When he retired, my uncle became president of the company, and my father, vice-president. Later, my husband Marty, a chemical engineer, had a long career with the same company, working in their research and development department.

When my sister and I were growing up, my father educated us on the many properties and uses of salt. Apparently, there was much more to it than what we shook onto our food at the dinner table. Salt was used to melt snow and ice on the roads, to preserve foods, and as a water softener. (I had no idea what that last one meant at the time.) If one of us had a sore throat, Dad encouraged us to gargle with salt water. And as I have had to deal with sinus problems most of my life, I discovered the all-important “Neti Pot” could help me breathe better by rinsing the sinuses with saline solution. I have used salt and olive oil to exfoliate and soften skin. And when occasionally I would buy some “low sodium” product by accident, I was made unpleasantly aware of how important that ingredient was to the flavor of just about any food.

So, if we are to be the “salt of the earth,” as Jesus described us, what exactly does that mean? While one could make a case for applying this passage to several of salt’s uses, the most common interpretation is in the sense of preserving. In Jesus’ time, long before there was refrigeration, salt was used to keep food from spoiling, or at least to slow down the spoilage.

No doubt about it, this fallen world, teeming with fallen people, is in decay. The world system is under the influence of our enemy Satan, and we are hurdling toward destruction. We (the Church) are sent to shine Light into the dark places, to be an influence for good. We can’t stop the destruction of the world, but we can be used by God to delay it, buying time for more people to be redeemed.

So, how do we do that? The answer will be different from one person to the next. But one thing we are not to do is isolate ourselves within our churches and wait it out. As the king told his servants in one of Jesus’ parables, “Occupy until I come.” This parable has implications for us as we wait for Christ’s return – we have work to do.

Does this work involve (*cringe*)”politics”?

Maybe.

In the Body of Christ there are different members with different roles. Most of us are not called to enter the arena of social activism or government leadership. But, thank God, some of us are – I would not want to live in a country run entirely by the ungodly! (No politician jokes, please.)

Those who are sincerely trying to be “salt and light” in our government have an uphill climb, and often feel as though the rest of us have abandoned them. As much as some of us loathe politics and would like to stay uninvolved, we do need to support our brothers and sisters who are in places of authority.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and those in authority, that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (I Timothy 2: 1-3) So, praying for our leaders is the very least we can do. In addition to praying for them, we could contact them occasionally, to encourage them and let them know we’re praying for them. I know if I were on the front lines, I would want to know I’m being prayed for.

I guess I should mention voting, although I would hope in America that’s a given. Some Christians refuse to get involved in elections, saying they don’t want to choose “the lesser of two evils,” as if that will make them more virtuous in God’s eyes. I could be mistaken, but in my view, refusing to choose the lesser of two evils is letting a vote for the greater of two evils go unchallenged. Again, we are not saving the world, but we are trying to slow down its demise.

In ancient times, God judged whole civilizations according to the actions of their leaders, even though the citizens had no say. How much more will we be accountable, when we are blessed enough to live in a country where we have a voice? True, we may feel our voices are being limited. Nevertheless, we should prayerfully use whatever influence we have been given, whether it’s in voting, writing letters to a leader or editor, or showing up at a city council or school board meeting, as the Lord leads, and conducting ourselves “in a manner worthy of the gospel.”

As for getting involved in the debates of the day, whether in person, through letter writing, or on social media, I have a few criteria for speaking up, and otherwise I try to keep my mouth shut.

1.) The issue must be one that is important enough in the grand scheme of things that it’s worth the time and effort put into the discussion.

2.) I should know that the person I speak to will listen intelligently and that it’s possible (s)he may have a change of heart. Trying to persuade a closed-minded person is wasted time I will never get back, and I’m not getting any younger.

3.) I must be knowledgeable enough about the subject. I don’t want to find out later that I said something that wasn’t true. I would rather stay silent on political issues than lose my credibility and hurt my testimony on more important (eternal) subjects.

Needless to say, after using that checklist, I usually opt to say nothing – to people, that is. Talking to God is always appropriate.

Prayer: Lord, You have called us to be in the world but not of the world. Help us to follow Your lead, always speaking and acting in a way that honors You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

35 thoughts on “Out of the Saltshaker (Christians and Politics)

  1. I would put an extra caveat in #2: “I should know that the person I speak to will listen intelligently and that it’s possible (s)he may have a change of heart”… or at least, that they should be aware of all (i.e., my) side(s) of an issue.
    These are excellent guides for involvement for those of us not “called” to run for office or actively engage in the political arena.
    ❀️&πŸ™, c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “In addition to praying for them, we could contact them occasionally, to encourage them and let them know we’re praying for them. ” I agree. The few times I’ve gone to Washington with a group, the congressmen/women we met with were very encouraged to hear from concerned voters, not paid lobbiests. It made a difference at that time, educating legislators and gaining needed support.
    At the same time, politics cannot be our lifeline to assure a good life, legislated morality, and ongoing partisanship. Believers are called to be separated from this world and we need to know when God’s call ends and the flesh takes over.
    Thank you for sharing your salty family background! Good post sister! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth. I can imagine that leaders get tired of hearing from paid lobbyists. While none of what man does on this earth is our true lifeline, it’s still important to give one another sincere encouragement as we try to live out our various callings in this earth. Our attitudes toward one another say a lot about what kind of God we serve.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How interesting! My husband used to deliver salt back in his truck driving days. πŸ™‚He was very appreciative more than once that he happened to be hauling the very property that could help he and fellow truckers get unstuck in icy conditions. I think the Lord calls us to be similarly useful. Praying for and encouraging our leaders-and not just the ones we like-is of great importance indeed. I think if we as Christians would concentrate on that more than useless bickering about temporal issues, we might see more hearts turn to the Lord. I know the end of the book, so there is no doubt it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Still, that is no excuse for idle hands.There is still a Godly way to approach these matters. Thanks for a great reminder. May our lightsalt shine before all men! ❀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, your family was in the salt business! That is so cool.

    A few years back I discovered one of my favorite uses for salt and had a revelation about it. I didn’t realize it, but in ancient days babies were salted at birth. Besides just cleaning them up, it was a ritual to announce their fatherhood, to claim them as your child. In Ezekiel 16:4, we read of an old insult, of how, “as for thy nativity… thou wast not salted at all! ” It means you are fatherless and unwanted, basically a bastard. So when Jesus proceeds to call us “the salt of the Earth” He is saying, we are known, claimed, and wanted by our heavenly Father! We are not fatherless orphans, we are His on the Earth! Sealed with His salt. I just love that. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Far be it from me to bring up politics in a conversation! But if the subject arises, I’m thinking the best approach might be questions. Seek to understand why the other person believes as they do. Also ask where they get their information and why they trust that source. Perhaps they’ll turn the table and ask us the same questions, giving us the opportunity to share our views and the reasons behind them. Might just give each other some food for thought–without the conversation getting testy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nancy, that’s an excellent point. Jesus Himself asked questions. Sometimes people are just believing what they’ve heard and need to think for themselves. Challenging them to explain more can get them to think through what they believe, possibly see some inconsistencies. Or maybe their answers will enlighten ME. 😏 And you’re right, when they’re finished, they might ask questions, too. (Although I get really disappointed when they don’t. πŸ˜’)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Many years ago, for a brief time, I found myself chained to a long commute to a radio station I worked for. I lived in Buffalo, but drove to Bath, NY, about 2.5 hours southeast. (Grateful I left that gig prior to winter.). About midway through the very scenic drive was a small town which had a large salt mine right on the highway. The mountain of pre-processed salt was amazing as I drove by it. What’s more amazing to me was the change in the air as I drove closer to the salt plant. I am unsure just what the change was, but I can say there was a small temperature hike, like a sunroom, the closer I got to the operation. The thought of our “changing of the air around us” always came to mind. We are indeed, the salt of the earth. God’s grip, Annie.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s