Editor’s Note: This week we welcome David Hundert as guest blogger!
In the previous post, we learned one of the most repeated words in the New Testament, “one another.” So, how do we, the Church of Christ, apply the concept of “one another” to our churches, our relationships?
Jesus once taught, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
So, what is this salt that the Lord refers to? The word can be translated as seasoning for food, or as fertilizer. It can be figuratively defined as the spiritual qualities of the disciples. This principle of salt needing to be salty leans on its historical purpose, and it is a vivid reminder to us that salt was a necessity of life in the ancient world. It preserved food from rot!
What it means for us today is that it sets forth the demanding requirements of discipleship. The disciples have a responsibility toward all humanity in a world which is subject to the judgment of God. Jesus warns them that the disciples can lose that salt-like quality which can mean life for the world. Here salt typifies that quality which is the distinctive mark of the disciple, the loss of which will make the disciple worthless. We accomplish this task of loving one another when we are called to be that which promotes growth and prevents decay in a world that is rife with rot.
How to we do this? In John 13:14-15 Jesus says to his disciples, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Jesus is stating, that if he, who his disciples refer to as Teacher and Lord, can serve them by washing their feet, then they shouldn’t look down at any task that can be seen as an act of service. The point of what Jesus has said is that they should have a readiness to perform the lowliest service for one another. Nothing was more menial than the washing of the feet. Therefore, no act of service should be beneath them. We accomplish this task of loving one another when we are there for one another. If your church has a need for childcare volunteers, or to help your fellowship team prepare refreshments, there should be a stampede to sign up! When there is a need within the body, we should be lining up to meet it.
What does this accomplish? Romans 1:11-12 reads,
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Paul wants to visit the Roman Christians so that an insight or ability given to Paul by the Spirit, can be shared with the Romans. What gift Paul may want to share with the Romans isn’t specified, and it wouldn’t be made plain until he sees what their needs might be; however, its purpose will be to “strengthen” their faith. This is an example for us. Whenever we gather together, we accomplish this task of loving one another, when our goal is to strengthen each other’s faith.
Why is this important? How can we remember to do this? In the next post we’ll attempt to answer those questions.