Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Savory to the Taste (07/26/12)
TITLE: A Lunchtime Walk
By Hiram Claudio
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From the office I could see into New York harbor and gaze at Lady Liberty as she hoisted her torch proudly to the heavens. To the right was Ellis Island which filled me with wonder as I contemplated the many scenes that have taken place there over the years. Not far from Wall Street, the sounds of high finance were everywhere as folks moved from place to place with determination and purpose. And a few blocks up, is Ground Zero. Towering spires of global commerce used to stand tall there. Now only memorable images of a moment in time that forever re-defined a nation.
In the midst of all this one can clearly assess the status of our culture’s moral center. Signs everywhere advertise what marketing executives have deemed mandatory if one is to be attractive and successful. The subtle connotations of sensuality, if not blatant sexuality, are unmistakable. This is a culture fixated with physical appearance and instant gratification.
The presence of the “ME first” mindset is prevalent. Not just in business but in even the most common of relationships. We are bombarded with the idea of “get what you can and don’t be concerned with the people that get run over.” Phrases like ‘collateral damage,’ once confined to military combat, now infiltrate everyday life. We accept that life’s pursuits require using a few people, stepping on some, and hurting others. But in the end, as long as we gain what was reached for, we peacefully declare … mission accomplished!
The city’s many sights and sounds always produced many thoughts to ponder as well. “Lord, what can I do to make a difference? What impact can I have that will matter?”
As I walked, I tried to understand the nature of my objection to that which has become acceptable in the land I call home. I found myself thinking that what people today call ‘life’ and ‘love’ represent such hollow imitations of the treasured realities God offers. I chuckle as I contemplate the unfortunate truth that common decency is anything but common these days.
Then, I remember a sermon I’d heard recently. It was from Matthew 5:13 and pastor talked about being the “salt of the earth.” I also recall how the verse reads from The Message translation. “Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”
Yeah, this world truly has become … tasteless! Not only in the pervasively vulgar, and seemingly unavoidable, expressions of lust, but even in what we suggest is ‘decent’ for our children. So how can this poorly seasoned culture become tasteful again? Well, that’s where we come in.
Our charge as Christians to be an influence in the world is basic. But as I look deeper into this scripture, I’m paused by its focus. It’s not fixed on the idea of the world becoming tasteless, but of that happening to us, His people! Folks who’ve rejected the Lord have been crude and tasteless since the dawn of time. But the admonition here is … how can our tasteless culture experience the goodness of God if we who are supposed to be godly seasoning become tasteless too? A truly sobering thought!
I’ve watched cooking shows where chefs encourage viewers to periodically go through the cupboard to determine if the various spices in there are any good. Perhaps, we all could use a review of our spiritual spice rack. Have mindsets we’ve embraced diluted our ability to add godly seasoning to a tasteless world? Have we become bland and therefore useless spices in the Master Chef’s rack?
Lord, check my life! If I have any thoughts or attitudes that compromise my ability to be Your seasoning, clean me out. May the only spices I ever accept be ones that place Your kingdom at the center. I want this world to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Father, help me to taste You first … anew and fresh each day.
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