“Have Salt in Yourselves”
11, 12. To “salt” of what kind was Jesus referring at Mark 9:50, and those words would call for what kind of speech and action?
11 Since we are imperfect, we all have times when we speak in a manner that is unsuitable for a Christian. As the disciple James candidly admitted: “We all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, this one is a perfect man, able to bridle also his whole body.” (James 3:2, 8-10) Jesus’ early disciples were no exception to this, and they had to be reproved for failing to speak graciously to one another. For instance, on a certain occasion the disciples argued hotly about who was the greatest among them. Jesus gave the entire group some fine counsel against stumbling others and thus being “salted with fire,” or being destroyed in Gehenna. He then concluded with the words: “Have salt in yourselves, and keep peace between one another.”—Mark 9:33-50.
12 Obviously, Jesus was not there referring to the small amount of literal salt found in the physical bodies of his disciples. Rather, he was referring to their being considerate, tactful, wholesome, and peaceable in word and conduct—acting in good taste toward others. This is vital so that true Christians can remain at peace with one another.
He needs not only graciousness of speech but also the preservative quality that enables him to say no to corruption in all its forms. In his case, there is an urgent need for “salt.”—1 Peter 4:1-3.
15. What fine examples were set by Jesus and Daniel?
15 A faithful servant of Jehovah must know how to say no to bad practices and temptations. Remember that Jesus said no three times when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-10) And consider the example provided by the prophet Daniel. He learned to say no at a comparatively tender age. When Daniel was a young man in the royal court of Babylon, he and his companions were offered “a daily allowance from the delicacies of the king.” But Daniel and his friends refused. This was not a case of refusing a hospitable offer. Rather, the four young Hebrews insisted on a diet consisting solely of vegetables and water because they were anxious to avoid food prohibited by Jehovah’s Law or defiled by pagan rituals. Real courage was required to take that course. The outcome was rewarding, for at the end of the set period of testing, their physical appearance was better than that of those who had accepted the royal diet. And spiritually those Hebrews enjoyed Jehovah’s blessing and favor.—Daniel 1:5-17.
16. Why can it be said that Daniel was a “well-salted” servant of Jehovah?
16 Jehovah God saw to it that Daniel and his associates were preserved because of ‘having salt in themselves.’ But we can learn more from Daniel. He was appointed to a high office in the Babylonian government. Under those circumstances he must have had to say no many times, for he was surrounded by pagan people, and the royal court no doubt was full of immorality, lying, bribery, political intrigue, and other corrupt practices. Daniel was under heavy pressure many times. But although he was in the midst of the “world” of that day, he was “no part of the world.” (John 17:16) Daniel was a faithful, “well-salted” servant of Jehovah. Why, Daniel’s enemies, perhaps irritated because his integrity and honesty reflected badly on them, even tried to destroy him! Nevertheless, they had to admit that “he was trustworthy and no negligence or corrupt thing at all was found in him.” (Daniel 6:4, 5) What a fine example!
17. What difficult tests confront Christian youngsters today?
17 Like young Daniel and his friends, Christian youngsters today face difficult tests. Especially at school, they have to contend with drugs, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, unclean talk, immorality, cheating, a spirit of rebelliousness, false worship, nationalism, bad associations, false teachings such as evolution, and other powerful influences. It takes a “well-salted” Christian youngster to remain a clean integrity keeper in the face of all that temptation.