I recently watched a YouTube video of Bob Bergen, the voice behind the distinctive stutter of Looney Tunes’ character Porky Pig (Th-th-th-th-th-at’s all folks!). In the clip Mr Bergen explains the complicated process behind Porky’s famous stutter and how someone might go about replicating it. However, as he progresses through the explanation the impossibility of such a task becomes obvious. In fact, Mr Bergen finishes his explanation by saying: “And nobody can do that and that’s why I have job security!” In other words, Mr Bergen knows that no one else can reproduce the stutter like he can, and so he is, as the voice of Porky Pig, irreplaceable.
As I thought about that line, it reminded me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13: “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.” In this verse, Jesus says that believers are, in a sense, irreplaceable. If you are a believer, according to Jesus you are a unique and indispensable influence on the world for good.
But notice that Jesus includes a caveat upon your ‘irreplaceability’? He says you are the ‘salt of the earth’, only if you retain your ‘saltiness’. In other words, to believe in Jesus without actually following Jesus is ultimately no good to the world around you. What your family and your work colleagues need from you is not just to know that you are a Christian, or that you are ‘cool’ or ‘relevant’ or ‘just like them’. They need to see that you are a Christian in the compelling, distinctive, irreplaceable way that you love, serve, encourage, give, help and honour others.
So if you are a follower of Jesus, wherever you live, work or play, it is your responsibility, privilege and joy to always bring the salt. To do your best, not to try and just ‘fit in’ but to ‘stand out’, because God has called you to do what nobody else can do. He has called you and me and all of us together as BPCC to be an undeniable, irreplaceable force for good in this world. He has, as Jesus goes on to say in verse 16 called us to: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”