DETOUR (Another Way to Get There)
I am terrible with directions. Detours sometimes confuse me. If you tell me how to get somewhere, I need to stick to the exact path you give me in order to reach my destination. But, that typically isn’t our reality. That “Detour” sign appears in life every so often. Sometimes it’s our fault. Sometimes it’s our circumstances. Sometimes we’ll find that it was needed. It’s what happened to Moses. But, when we entrust our vulnerabilities to God, we understand why he is the way, the truth and the life. We can see how he leads us to still waters. We realize he will he direct our steps and make them sure.
by Pastor Robert Pineiro (Ecc. 12:11-14)
“Salt is Still Salt … When It’s Salty”
I run a little test for myself now and again. At work we have meetings every morning except for Friday, our “reflection” day. On Fridays the guys normally get together in one of the classrooms to talk and joke about the past week. As you can imagine, the conversation is pretty crude and so I stay away. But sometimes I’ll walk in and take a seat with them. It’s a good way to gauge my testimony for that week. If nothing changes when I walk in, then I know I need some altar time. This might sound silly but it helps to remind me who I am. One day I walked in and the science teacher said, “Man, when O walks in it’s like the principal is walking in. He just has like this air of respect about him.” It’s just like Paul said and Pastor Joe reminded us on Sunday, that we are open epistles, read by all who see us. It’s important that we are transparent and the same person before everyone. It’s important that WE know who we are in Christ but it’s just as important that THEY know too.
But, today I think the church is facing an identity crisis. We are at a crucial crossroads and we must stand firmly on the word of God. On the surface it seems that we are doing well, following routines and traditions but as Pastor Joe pointed out on Sunday, “We have adopted a worldly mentality and are prostituting the things of God.” We feel compelled to change who we are to bend to the will of a sinful world system. “We blend in with the rest of the world and they can’t tell us apart,” said Pastor. When we allow this to happen it alters our relationship with Christ. In Matthew 5:13 Jesus uses an analogy to remind us how we ought to conduct ourselves. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
I’ve always known that table salt (NaCl) can’t really lose its flavor because it is salty by nature. Well, unless it dissolves in water. But, after some digging, I found out that the salt Jesus’ followers were familiar with at the time came from the Dead Sea. Turns out that it could lose flavor or taste weird if it compounded with the impurities in the water (like boron, magnesium, and bromides). Also, taste can be subjective. If your tastebuds are outta whack, then even if the salt is perfectly salty, it still won’t taste right. During the time of Jesus, salt was a commodity that was essential for living. Not only did it season and preserve but it also served to purify and help with healing.
We are called to be the salt for this world that has lost its taste for Jesus and the Gospel. But what if we are not pure? What if we are filled with impurities, having compounded ourselves with sin? And if we are not pure, then we are not really Christian. We lose our identity, or at least become ignorant of it when we don’t run from sin! When we have His identity, we have purpose: to heal, purge, and preserve the Gospel. The church should have a direct influence on the course of society, not the other way around.
“We are a selected people!” said Pastor. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priest, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
So let us remember that He makes us essential and gives us purpose through His identity. We are His and even if the world has a sweet tooth, we must remain salt!
Bro. O. Alvarez