“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:34-35 ESV)
In this passage from Luke Jesus reminded His followers of the cost of discipleship. We have seen this same teaching in this week’s reading from Philemon and Deuteronomy. If we want to be His disciples, we must count the cost, we must know what is required of us. As disciples of Jesus we must forsake all the world teaches us to value. We cannot compromise with the world if it means putting Jesus and the values of His Kingdom in second place to anything or anyone.
One of the costs of discipleship we must consider is persecution. Our profession of faith in Christ alone will not be acceptable to most people and it will create enemies who will seek to silence us. Jesus implied this when He told His disciples about salt, a very graphic, colorful, and memorable image. Most think the concept of the salt referred to the taste that salt gave to food, that Jesus was telling us to be tasty, that is, we have to be good people and do good things so everyone will like us. While that is true, salt is also a preservative and was often used for cleaning wounds. What Jesus wants us to know about discipleship concerns our influence in the world.
To be effective Christians we cannot take the bite out of the gospel. We cannot mix God’s truth with the ideas and philosophies of the world. The truth is going to make people uncomfortable. It will make them feel guilty. It will make them angry. It will not win us friends but we can’t lead people to Christ if we remain silent about the deadly nature of sin. Our influence in the world depends on our remaining distinct from it, not identical to it or even something that looks like it. When we Christians are indistinguishable from the world we have become useless. Let us take stock of our own lives to see where we fall short, we we have compromised the truth of the gospel and then ask the Lord to enable us to love lives that are totally dedicated to Him.