Drama. Gore. Action. That describes a dramatic chapter in the Bible that I was reading. And within that chapter I found something very interesting.
It is a simple story and one normally passed over by me… maybe by you… for the more dramatic stories surrounding it.
The story is found in 2 Kings 2.
On the front end of that chapter, you have Elijah taken up in a chariot of fire and Elisha with a double portion.
Dramatic. Read it.
Then, at the end of the chapter, Elisha calls down a curse on those who were making fun of him. The result of his curse was seeing those 42 boys mauled by 2 bears.
Again… dramatic. Read it.
But snug between those two stories is a much simpler, calmer, prettier story.
A story about just a little salt.
4 little verses.
1 amazing story.
2 Kings 2:19-22 says, “The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.” “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.”
Ok. A city with bad water and bad land.
Elisha can help and the people know it.
Why? Because they recognized the hand of God on Elisha.
I love the first thing that Elisha did. He asked for a bowl of salt. He didn’t go get it himself. He asked for help. He asked for people to engage in the process. He asked for people to give him what he needed to do what he needed to do.
Once he had the bowl of salt, the Bible says, “then he went out…” Elisha needed to GO with the salt. He needed to take the salt somewhere so that it could do something. He needed to take steps to get where the spring and the water was located.
Then, he deployed the salt into the water. The Bible says, “he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it…”
And finally, God healed the water and caused the land to produce once more.
Simple story. No grand, thematic, dramatic moments.
A story of a bowl of salt in the hands of someone who would go and deploy the salt into action.
I’ve been mulling this over because I feel like that salt.
Our friend, Jerry Ireland, recently wrote a post about being… A post he titled The Missiological Necessity of Presence, how being gives purpose to our doing.
His post was along the lines that I had already been feeling, sensing God saying through this story.
And through our story…
God gave us a vision for kids in Africa. He gave us heart to see healing and restoration come to a nation where very few know Him.
We realized we needed help for that to happen. We needed our support team, our #buggingyou team, to give. Give in finances, in prayer, in encouragement.
We then needed to actually take the steps necessary. We needed to go to language school. We needed to move our family from the US to France to West Africa. We needed to set up house and learn a new community, a new city, a whole new culture. We needed to take many, many steps just to get where the dream, the vision was located.
And, now we are here. Salt in an unhealthy spring. Salt in unhealthy waters. Salt in an unhealthy land. Salt in a place in desperate need of healing, restoration, peace and joy. Salt in a place in need of Jesus.
And we must figure out how to deploy. How to spread the salt in productive ways. We need to seek Him first and seek His way of sharing salt in a desert land.
But even more simply, as Jerry said, “Whether living in West Africa or the West Bank then, our reason to be there must first be about who we become in the shared reality of togetherness. Only when we have through the power of community become who Jesus wants us to be, can we then begin to do what Jesus wants us to do.”
We need to BE salt. Actively being salt, each moment of the day.
We need to LIVE salt. Actively living salt in the everyday circumstances of life.
In getting deeper into the idea of actually being salt and light, I read Matthew 5:13-16.
This passage of scripture is written right after the Beatitudes, a portion of scripture that lists the characteristics of the people of God. Actually, chapters 5-7 of Matthew are called Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He was preaching to a large group of people, teaching them how to be true followers of his kingdom. After these words are given, Jesus tells the people that they are the salt of the earth.
Remember, salt seasons food, it preserves and it creates thirst
And we, through the example of our lives, should season, preserve and create a thirst for more of God in those around us.
Then, God will deploy… God will move… God will work through our little bit of salt.
Because like Elisha, we must grasp the vision, get help, take the steps to go, get to the location of calling and then throw the salt into the water and see what God will do.
As I learned just this week while I watching this principle play out before my very eyes when our language teacher shared her testimony in French while our house helper cleaned around us, probably hearing the presentation of the gospel in her language for the very first time… just because I sat in the room listening with her.
Just our being here, just our needing a language teacher caused someone to hear the gospel for the first time.
That is being. That is God spreading salt in His way, His time. God mixing and turning the salt in the waters of the world. Seasoning, preserving and creating thirst for Him.
Maybe not quite as dramatic as a chariot of fire or charging bears…
But powerful all the same.