“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:13).
As children of God, we are ambassadors of Christ. We are his representatives here on this earth. As ambassadors of Christ, we are the salt of the earth. When Jesus described us as salt of the earth, he was speaking more to the preservative effect of salt than the seasoning effect of salt. As representatives of Christ here on earth, our role is to preserve that which is right, that which is pure, that which is God-glorifying, that which is good, and that which is holy. When Jesus said we are to be the salt of the earth, he is telling us that our role is to be lights in this dark world that remain strong and unaffected by the darker values that the culture deems as normal and right. We are to be beacons of light that lead people to Jesus.
I love how Justin Lopez of Austin Stone Community Church describes the role of the church in society. “The church shouldn’t just be in a city, and it shouldn’t be against a city, and we definitely shouldn’t look just like our city, but we should be a people who are for our city.” I think that does a great job of explaining how we should be a positive light in the city of Wausau that ultimately doesn’t point to ourselves or to the culture, but to Christ’s transforming work on the cross.
On July 11, Dallas Police Chief David Brown explained a significant tension his police department feels. He said this:
“We are asking cops to do too much in this country. Every societal failure, we put it on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas, we have a loose dog problem, let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. School’s fail, give it to the cops. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve those problems. And I just ask for other parts of our democracy, along with the free press, to help us. To help us and not put that burden all on law enforcement to resolve.”
Here is the main challenging point. Even we as the church are relying on the police department, and the government itself to take care of issues that ultimately only the gospel can take care of. That’s the bottom line. We are relying on the police, who celebrate when they take down a hardened criminal, not because it makes them look good, but because the arrest of a hardened criminal takes the criminal off the street and makes the city a better place to live. What an incredible reality! The police are serving Wausau to make it a better place to live. They are for the city. Yet, their methods are ultimately only like chopping the head off a dandelion.
Ultimately, the only thing that will transform the city is the powerful work of the gospel. Only the work of Christ will be able to take that dandelion and pull it out from the ground all the way down to its root. Only the gospel can truly change hearts to cause the actions of criminals to become actions that are glorifying to God. Wausau Alliance Church must be a church in a city that is not against the city, that doesn’t ultimately look like the city, but is for the city, as we exist as ambassadors for Christ in the city. May God not only give us a desire and longing to see God glorified, but may he also give us a love for Wausau that propels us out into the community to see lives changed for the glory of God and for the sake of the kingdom.