We need more ‘salt of the earth’ people

“They’re the salt of the earth,” we often say of people we hold in high regard.

Why?

What’s the origin of this complimentary comment?

Our Lord called His disciples the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) because salt preserves and purifies. He wanted them to know they were responsible for preserving certain values and exerting a purifying influence on others.

So are we! And none of these divinely ordered obligations can be fulfilled through non-involvement.

Most are familiar with the famous quote: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.” Still, we’re too often silent about issues of decency, honesty and the value of life. Then we wonder why evil triumphs and standards fall.

Morality is especially in danger of being compromised when things are going well for us. It’s easy to let down barriers for the sake of profit or pleasure when these have become more important than doing right.

Cotton Mather, the influential eighteenth century Congregational minister and writer, said: “Religion brought forth prosperity and the daughter destroyed the mother.” He believed the prosperity of his time was the result of qualities in people that had been born of faith: honesty, thrift, integrity, willingness to work and the discipline to defer gratification. But he feared the affluence that flowed from these valuable characteristics would undermine spiritual values and contribute to moral decline. Mather’s insight ought to be a wake-up call for us all. When life is moving smoothly, we’re more likely to fall.

Mention “salt of the earth” people and my thoughts often move to a farmer named John. During my growing up years, I was impressed by how straight John could plow. Passing one of John’s fields gave insight into his character. He lived like he plowed: straight as an arrow; a fact his neighbors all knew well.

A few in our community were surprised when John decided to quit farming and head for seminary to prepare for the ministry; not an easy undertaking for one with a family to support. Most, however, saw John’s move from plowing to preaching as something to be expected. He had been influencing people for God in his home area and now his preserving of values and purifying of lives through living and sharing his faith would extend to other places.

Dr. Joseph Stowell once wrote approvingly of a man named Larry, a member of one of his former churches, who left a lasting impression on him.

Stowell says he was moved by the example of Larry walking the streets of Detroit, during the riots of the sixties, ministering to those who were injured. He adds that he’s never forgotten what a friend of Larry said in trying to express his feelings about losing this good man:

“It hurts so much because the world has lost a righteous man, and that is no small thing.”

During this precarious period of worldwide terrorism, falling morals and compromising convictions, we need more “salt of the earth” people who, by their faith and prayers, can bring the protection and blessing of God to their nation (Proverbs 14:34).

And that’s no small need.

Roger Campbell is an author, broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at rcministry@ameritech.net.

More in Life

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Unhinged Alaska: Bones

Just as we approached Ninilchik, we remembered that the Salmonfest would be in high gear

File
Minister’s Message: What a Friend we have in Jesus

Can Jesus really be your friend? Jesus said so Himself.

The procedure for this quick kimchi is much less labor-intensive than the traditional whole head method, and takes less time to ferment, making it ideal for first time kimchi-makers. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Garden fail — but kitchen win nonetheless

This quick kimchi technique is less labor-intensive than the traditional method

Kate Lochridge stands by one of her paintings for a pop-up show of her work on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)
Pop-up exhibit shows culmination of art-science residency

The exhibit by Kate Lochridge came about after her internship this summer as a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration Ernest S. Hollings Scholar and Artist in Residence

File
Minister’s Message: The power of small beginnings

Tiny accomplishments lead to mighty successes in all areas of life

A copy of “Once Upon the Kenai: Stories from the People” rests against a desk inside the Peninsula Clarion’s offices on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Hidden history

‘Once Upon the Kenai’ tells the story behind the peninsula’s landmarks and people

Artwork by Graham Dale hangs at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. These pieces are part of the “Sites Unseen” exhibition. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Apart and together

‘Sites Unseen’ combines the work of husband and wife pair Graham Dane and Linda Infante Lyons

Homemade garlic naan is served with a meal of palak tofu, butter chicken, basmati rice and cucumber salad. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Naan for a crowd

When it comes to feeding a group, planning is key

P.F. “Frenchy” Vian poses with a cigar and some reading material, probably circa 1920, in an unspecified location. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 6

The many vital chapters in the story of Frenchy fell into place

File
Jesus, God of miracles, provides

When you are fishing or eating them, remember how Jesus of Nazareth used fish in some of his miracles

Sugar cookies are decorated with flowers of royal icing. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Blooming sugar cookies

These sugar cookies are perfectly soft and delicious, easy to make, and the dough can be made long in advance