As I write this article, it is in the early morning hours of September 11th, a day that will never be forgotten. I remember where I was when the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I was in tenth grade taking the I-step exam. I recall the teacher turning on the television and watching the breaking news. I didn’t understand what happened. I thought it was a mistake, some kind of accident. But, then another plane hit the South Tower. People started talking about terrorism, something I was unfamiliar with at that time. All of a sudden, my world got a lot bigger.

In the ensuing days, President Bush launched attacks against the known terror Al Qaeda. Airstrikes first struck Afghanistan on October 7th, 2001 and we’ve been fighting in that region ever since. US troops were deployed and remain there today. In fact, President Trump just recently announced that he is going to send upwards to 4000 more troops into that region.

This war has been criticized as one we should not be a part of; a conflict that will never end. Others see its merits and justification. I am not going to argue for either side. I am pastor, not a military strategist or political pundit. But, the argument as to why we need military presence in Afghanistan interesting. We need troops in that region, so the argument goes, because if we withdraw now it will create an insurgence of evil. Our military presence in the Middle East provides law, order and stability. Without it, evil would run rampant.

When Jesus says “You are the salt of the Earth” (Matthew 5:13), He has the same idea in mind. Salt was used by everyone in first century as a preservative. Jesus and His contemporaries didn’t have refrigeration. In order to keep their meat from rotting, they would rub salt into it to slow the decaying process.

In the same way, the church is the salt of the earth. Just as we leave troops in the middle east to preserve law and order, God has left the church in the world to preserve its moral goodness. Without the church in the world, the world would corrupt quickly like a piece of meat under the scorching sun.

The world is wicked (Genesis 6:5). People love evil and they hate God (Romans 1:18-32). And when the world pushes God away it slips into ever increasing wickedness. But, the church is God’s beacon on light, His anchor of hope. By leaving the church in the world God has ensured that certain Christian morals and values will be preserved.

Part of the church’s mission in the world is that of preservation. We are to preserve that which is good such as the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage between one man and one woman, the sanity of human biology—that our God created us in His image either male or female. We preserve the wholesomeness of the family; homes where fathers are the leaders, women are treated with respect and dignity and children are raised in the fear of the Lord and taught to be obedient to their parents. Christians submit to, respect and obey civil government knowing that it is God who has placed such officials over us for our good. And in all things, Christians preserve the knowledge and worship of God as our Creator and Redeemer in every area of life.