By Reverend Donovan A. Coley, Sr. for ReSermon.com | Donovan@TheRescueMission.net.
The following is excerpted and edited from a sermon series, “Living Right In a World Gone Wrong: Relevance” by Rev. Donovan Coley, CEO of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (www.TheRescueMission.net). Rev. Coley delivered this sermon on January 17, 2016 at Pathway Community Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. To see or hear Rev. Coley’s sermon in its entirety, click here. For more information about Clinton, visit http://www.therescuemission.net/about-us/staff/donovan-coley.
Some years ago the billiant magician-comedian, Penn, from the act Penn and Teller, posted a YouTube video conceding that he was deeply moved when a Christian respectfully challenged his use of profanity and gave him a Gideon Bible. Was this a moment of “relevance” for the church?
For wayward American churches who attempt to morph God’s law along the whims and fashions of men in order to become more “relevant” to the culture, Jesus has a pretty salty response. Jesus tell his 1st century and 21st follower alike, “You are the salt of the earth.”
The metaphor loses a little punch in today’s society, but in the 1st century, salt was biologically and economically a symbol of life itself. Sodium chloride is a key chemical in the sustenance of life and, in biblical times, many countries used salt as a barter currency and the means of paying salaries. Salt was, in fact, money. The market used salt to buy and sell slaves in ancient Greece, which gave rise to the phrase we more commonly use today, “…worth his salt.”
So, Christian, the question for you to consider is this: If your savior calls you “salt of the earth,” do you think he has a high or low view of your relevance? Jesus is speaking of our ability to influence and preserve the world. Salty Christians know they are relevant, because they are not devaluing the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
The Gideon’s Bible gift to Penn was an expression of the church’s relevance. Renowned as a devout atheist, Penn said, “When the man handed me the New Testament, he looked me in the eyes, there was something special about that man.”
Penn remains, to my knowledge, a devout atheist. The Gideon was a man who demonstrated the epitome of relevance, because the God of the universe is, by his very a-priori essence, relevant to everything and everybody in the universe! Jesus is more relevant to tonight’s newscast than anything that runs on that newscast. By extension, a Christ follower worth his salt is tethered to that relevance.
There are many tasteless, incipit, and baseless Christians who have smiled at Penn and lauded his brilliant illusions and comedy, but there was one Gideon who respectfully dropped a salt tablet in his drink, and now Penn is rolling it around his tongue, savoring its taste. That is the relevant church at work.
By English: Cpl Erik Villagran [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons