Working in a salt mine

WHEN acquaintances ask me what I'm doing these days, I'm apt to reply, ``Well, I'm working in a salt mine.'' Their response is usually a look of utter surprise. Then I ask them if they have heard the statement ``Ye are the salt of the earth.'' 1 You see, I am having an exciting time finding the salt in the people around me. Let me explain. We happen to live near an ocean. Making a living on or under the sea is something with which I am not very familiar. Recently, on a rare December day, I met a man standing on the end of his dock who recounted how he had spent his whole life as a commercial lobsterman. But, he added, looking at his weathered hands, ``I've lived my life to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.'' I discovered that over the years he had been elected to nearly every office of responsibility in his town and church. He spoke quietly. Hearing this man speak warmed me clear through. What he had to say and just who he was seemed to be natural, powerful forces for good. Can the qualities this man is expressing heal heaviness and small-mindedness? They certainly brought light and delight to me. The qualities of integrity, meekness, love, and so forth, are God-derived, and so they carry with them spiritual power. And because the true being of each of us is God's very image, the expression of His pure and perfect nature, it's natural for us to express such qualities. In the Sermon on the Mount,2 Christ Jesus said that the pure, the peacemakers, the meek, the poor in spirit, and the merciful are blessed. For some reason I had thought of these qualities as rather submissive and often otherworldly. But in my friend I came to see them as forceful and effective. A truly meek person is one who has overcome his self-serving aggressions, is teachable, and can help others without dominating them. A merciful person is deeply strong and so secure he naturally expresses outgoing care and love. He who is pure is an example of constantly disciplined thought, which isn't contaminated or weighed down by worldly materialism. He works hard refining his individual sense of honor, which cannot be corrupted. His home reflects this purity. His friends are uplifted by it, and his community holds it as a most prized possession. Peacemakers, especially today, must be of such character as to wield great power with sure control. These qualities are not weak palliatives. Every day there appears to be wave after wave of influences that would leach the salt out of us. News stories of man's inhumanity to man can lead to cynicism and pessimism. The abuse of women and children, corruption in positions of privilege, and crime in all its forms can have us shaking our heads in discouragement. Jesus said to his disciples: ``Ye are the salt of the earth . . . . Ye are the light of the world.'' 3 Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Sci- ence, writes to Jesus' modern followers, ``Let us watch, work, and pray that this salt lose not its saltness, and that this light be not hid, but radiate and glow into noontide glory.'' 4 I have found that watching for evidence of salt in my surroundings leads to finding the spiritual truth of man, the truth of everyone's genuine, Godlike nature. The Christly qualities derived from God are present, and they carry the divine power to heal and bless. Help yourself to the salt! 1 Matthew 5:13. 2 See Matthew, chapters 5-7. 3 Matthew 5:13, 14. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 367.

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