Mark 9:38-50

I read from the internet that “Flavor is the sensory impression of a
food or other substance. It is determined by the three chemical
senses of taste, olfaction (smell), and the so-called trigeminal
senses, which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat. The
taste of many foods is often altered with flavorings.”3

All I know is that I hate the taste of dull, bland, and boring food.
I enjoy flavoring things with different ingredients to give it some
upbeat, exciting, different taste. My taste buds are a bit odd, but
they are my taste buds that I was born with and that God gave me. I
really like Louisiana Hot Sauce saturating my popcorn. If you think
I’m odd I have a friend and his family who flavors their waffles with
turkey and gravy! Romanians like to flavor their pasta with jam and
sugar according to my friend who lived there. Whatever tickles your
tongue I guess is ok.

Scripture talks about a flavor that lasts forever! Not an odd
flavoring, but flavor that brings zest to life and it begins with me!

Flavoring Life through Purposeful Generosity. (vv. 38-41)

Generosity is liberality in sharing and giving from the heart. God
has given some money, others gifts, talents and abilities are not to
hoard, but to generously and purposely give for the good of others.
Think of some synonyms that could be used for generous . . . big –
hearted, charitable, magnanimous, selfless, and unselfish.

Paul wrote to Timothy in I Timothy 6:18-19, “Command them to do good,
to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves as a firm
foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of life
that is truly life” (NIV).

Chuck Swindoll commented, “It is so clear it hardly needs an
explanation. Woven through the fabric of these words is the same
term: give, give, give, give, give.” He continues his thoughts with
what most of us should already know, “Let generosity become your
trademark. Be generous with your time, your efforts, your energy,
your encouragement, and yes, your money.”4

When we think about generous people a positive feeling pervades our
hearts because they have shown us God’s desire for our investment in
the lives of people that lasts for eternity.

Flavoring Life through Persuasive Influence. (vv. 42-47)

There is a warning from Jesus that if we are going to be negative
influences and cause people to sin we ought to know there are
consequences. The principle in this passage is that we are
responsible for one another. Disciples who have maturity, strength,
confidence, experience and insight are to become positive persuasive
influences in the lives of those with less maturity.

We are to be appalled at the attitude that finds discord and
divisiveness in the church with the “us” verses “them” mentality that
cause friction and fraction in the body. Unity and care must
dominate the church in order for spiritual and numerical growth to
occur. Someone said that over half of church splits occur due to the
color of the carpet. Ridiculous! Positive persuasive influences
won’t send a church into convulsions and cause splintering over
non-essential issues. Jesus has some harsh words for those who would
dare take that kind of action.

Powerful persuasive influences unite, encourage, care, work together
to develop stronger disciples and influence non-believers to
salvation and holiness!

What kind of an influence are you?

Flavoring Life through Powerful Perseverance. (vv. 48-50)

Salt is used to season and preserve. We live in a corrupt society
and dangerous world. Newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, and
television news commentaries constantly cast light on the unsavory
world we live in with its murderous ways, corruption, hatred, and
terrorist activities. Jesus counterbalances this with the fact that
his followers are to powerfully flavor goodness, graciousness,
righteousness and holiness around their family, community, church and
world. They are to be people who demonstrate joy and hope because
they have put their trust in God.

David McKenna wrote, “As radical as it may be, our identification as
disciples of Christ begins not with the grandeur of confessing God
the Father, but in the humility of serving the least of all His
children. Are we any different from the disciples? The truth is
almost more than we can bear.”5

Pass the salt shaker!


Sermon brief provided by: Derl Keefer, Adult Development
Ministries Coordinator in the Sunday School Department, Nazarene
World Headquarters, Kansas City, MO


3. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
4. Charles Swindoll, Strengthening Your Grip (Waco: Word Books, 1982), 85.
5. David McKenna ,The Communicator’s Commentary, Mark (Waco: Word Books, 1982) 201.

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About The Author


Rev. Derl Keefer pastored in the Church of the Nazarene for over 30 years. He currently serves as the Adult Development Ministries Coordinator for the Sunday School Ministries department at the Church of the Nazarene Global Ministry Center. He received his B.A. in Religion from Southern Nazarene University and his M. Div from Nazarene Theological Seminary. His other books include Let's Get Committed, Wedding Sermons and Marriage Ceremonies, and Open Doors.

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