‘Tis The Season To Be Salty?
Posted on November 5, 2019 by Erin Culleny in Freedom Fighters
“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” — Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NASB)
One of the things I see these days is the methods Christians use to evangelize. Now unless you’re really a hardcore Reformer with a hammer, some nails and your own copy of Luther’s 95 thesis, some of these methods can be very effective. On social media we definitely see the contrast when it comes to October 31st and the debate for “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” will once again rue the day and many a “Salty Christians” will wreck their testimonies to Jesus Christ bickering over how the methods dilute the message during the holiday season. Which, by the way, seems to start right after we blow up fireworks on July 4th. So, unless you’ve actually gone into the devil’s playground to set up your steeple to preach to the pagans, you may wanna take a step back into your Bibles and head into Solomon’s wisdom for a moment.
There’s a little nugget in Ecclesiastes 7 that I think may help all of us. As per the standard, we see the Teacher start off a passage like this, “I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness” (Eccl 7:15). Kinda makes ya think all this righteous living is for the birds. But, as per his standard, the Teacher will draw a comparison.
“Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?” (Ecclesiastes 7:16-17)
So, does this mean that King Solomon is telling us to not be so holy, don’t be outrightly criminal…just sin moderately? Well, as always the case with Scripture, we’ll hear the apostle Paul yell out to us from Romans 6, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” So there ain’t no shame in being a goody two shoes however there is a caution to glean from this.
In his book, “Hard Sayings Of The Old Testament”, Walter Kaiser will say this. “There was an altogether different danger which occupies the mind of the writer (Teacher). It was the danger, not of how men and women are perceived by others, but how men and women perceive themselves. The danger was that individuals might delude themselves through the multiplicity of their pseudoreligious acts which would be nothing more in reality than ostentatious pieces of showmanship in the act of worship and alleged service to God.” Now for those of you just went, “Huh?” let me use Scripture to illustrate.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” (Luke 18:10-13)
I was recently chatting with another one of the Freedom Fighter writers, whose name is Dave, about how I was looking into Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 and drawing the conclusion that I sometimes get carried away with the things of God. When he asked ‘How so?” I drew my conclusion from verse 21-22, “Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.” I said that this may not speak directly to foul language but it did say something about being condemning.
Then Dave challenged me with this question, “Or, does it direct us to focus on what God has set before us and allow His Spirit to overflow our lives into others…instead of their behavior distracting us from Him?” Hmm….
Sometimes I have all the grace of a bull in a china shop when it comes pointing out that what some things folks do to try and evangelize to the lost aren’t exactly on point. However, I will say arguing with the checkout person at Walmart on their wishing us “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” while I’m in line will draw my ire, but I digress. What Dave has said to me rings true. We really need to use those moments to allow the Holy Spirit to flow outta us and into others. Even if they feel the need to do it while wearing a silly costume, giving out candy, saying “TRICK OR TREAT” or going “HO-HO-HO.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “True faith will no more fail to produce good works than the sun can cease to give light.” — Martin Luther
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? – Psalm 118:6
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.