It happened in one of those countries whose leaders deny the existence of God but allow the church to exist under a secretary for church affairs. In this case, the secretary was not only a brilliant pastor, he was a medical doctor as well.

One day he was called on the carpet by the authorities. Knowing there would be a new crackdown on the Christians, he started right in: “I know you gentlemen wish to interrogate me,” he began. “But first, may I say something?”

Permission granted, he continued. “You know I am a medical doctor. As a doctor I know the importance of salt in the human body: it should be maintained at about 2 percent. If it is less, a person gets sick. If it is eliminated altogether, he will die.

“Now, Jesus Christ has said Christians are the salt of the earth.” Then he paused.

“That is all. And now, gentlemen, what is it that you wish to say to me?”

“Oh, nothing, nothing …” they agreed. And he was dismissed.

We do not know when salt was first discovered, but Numbers 18:19 refers to the “covenant of salt.” The Greeks had a saying, “Trespass not against the salt and the board.” An Arab saying went, “There is salt between us.” In Ezra 4:14, the expression “to eat the salt of the palace” is used. The modern Persian phrase, namak haram, “untrue to salt,” means to be disloyal or ungrateful. In English, “the salt of the earth” commonly describes someone who is both loved and trusted.

Salt is indispensable to man’s health and is fed to livestock for the same reason (see the Encyclopedia Britannica). It is also used as a preservative and for seasoning, as well as in curing hides and as brine for refrigeration. But there is another fact about salt that is worth considering: salt makes a person thirsty.

Do we Christians make people ...

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