Saltless Salt

 

Pictured above is a before picture of the old Choluteca Bridge built in 1937 in Honduras. Eventually a new bridge was built, and it became known as the Bridge of Rising Sun.

A Japanese company began building the bridge in 1996 and they completed the impressive bridge in 1998. But then…. tragedy struck Honduras and the iconic bridge.

No sooner had the bridge opened for use; Honduras was hit by a powerful and destructive hurricane… Mitch. Hurricane Mitch packed sustained winds of 180 mph, matching the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane on record (it has since dropped to seventh).

Sadly, Mitch dumped historic amounts of rainfall causing catastrophic flooding. In the aftermath, Mitch was the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history.

  • nearly 11,000 people were killed
  • well over 11,000 were still missing by the end of 1998
  • roughly 2.7 million were left homeless
  • damage was estimated at over $6 billion
  • And lastly, 150 bridges were damaged or destroyed by the massive weather beast.

What a tragedy! However, the biggest surprise of it all was when the news reported that the new Choluteca Bridge survived with only minor damage… But the roads at both ends of the bridge were completely washed out and were nowhere to be found.  Incredibly, the bridge itself remained in near perfect condition!

And more impressive than that, the Choluteca River, which is several hundred feet wide, had carved itself a new channel due to the massive flooding, and it no longer flowed beneath the bridge!

Choluteca Bridge (The Bridge To Nowhere) After Hurricane Mitch
Choluteca Bridge (“The Bridge To Nowhere”) After Hurricane Mitch

The bridge quickly became known as “The Bridge to Nowhere”. 

USA TODAY Wrote:

The graceful arches of the New Choluteca Bridge stand abandoned, a white concrete sculpture far from shore, linking nothing to nowhere. The Choluteca Bridge itself is perfect… except that it now straddles dry land. Mitch changed the course of the Choluteca River, and there is water where the access roads used to be … Now, there is no solution… it is very difficult to change the current. [The river] is in a totally different place.’’

And so, the other day I was marveling about the uselessness of the “bridge to nowhere”, which then brought me to the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples. He was teaching them on the hillside when He made a similar comparison that challenges every person who calls himself or herself a Christian these 2,000 years later.

No, Jesus did not speak about a bridge, a hurricane, or a disaster.  He did speak to His disciples then (and now) about the complete uselessness of saltless salt.

“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 ESV)

Perhaps the easiest way I can explain Jesus’ statement about “salt losing its saltiness” is by pointing to the Choluteca Bridge.

Jesus is telling His disciples to not be that bridge.  The famous bridge might have been a well-built and well-intentioned bridge, but it is now an irrelevant and worthless bridge! It is now useless.

These are strong words by Jesus! Read it again: “….if salt has lost its taste….it is no longer good for anything….”

Now, if you live in Japan, you might run into pictures of the bridge on magazine covers.  It is rightly displayed as a work of art and as superior Japanese architecture.  But, if you live in Honduras, it is a constant reminder of a useless bridge.  Imagine…. a bridge that no longer….”bridges”!  It is like a follower of Christ who isn’t following the teachings of Christ. The bridge and the believer are inconsistent in the purpose for which they were saved! The salt has lost its saltiness.

The Choluteca Bridge might be a nice bridge to look at or even photograph for a Japanese architecture magazine cover, but as far as bridges go, it is a worthless bridge!

No longer does the bridge…. bridge.  It cannot be used to transport the kids to school or commute to work.  It is completely worthless to all those who live near it.  Jesus is telling His disciples that salt that is not salty is worthless salt.  Christian, I challenge you and I am challenging myself…..DO NOT be that salt / bridge.

Did you know we can be nice looking Christians, attending nice looking churches and yet be entirely irrelevant to those who live around us?

Believer, be freshly amazed that God has created us and saved us to be salt to this world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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