One of the most commonly taught messages of Jesus is the “salt and light” teaching during the Sermon on the Mount. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how shall it be made salty? It is from then on good for nothing but to be thrown out and to be trampled underfoot by men,” Jesus said in Matthew 5:13. Many of us think that if salt “loses its saltiness”, it loses the ability to enhance the flavor of food, but there’s so much more to it than that!
Back in Jesus’ day, salt was used for much more than simply flavoring food and Jesus knew that when He spoke of His followers being “salt”. In fact, salt is a well-known preservative, which hampers the growth of bacteria on food. Salt is used to enhance the sweetness of foods, and to make the texture of foods more complex- like in cheeses and breads. Salt possesses the element sodium, which is necessary for your body’s proper functioning. Salt helps control the fermentation of yeast and makes dough stronger. In Jesus’ day, salt also played role in purification rituals and all sacrifices to the Lord had to contain salt.
If we as Christians are not being salt in this world, we lose the very thing that defines us and render ourselves useless in the Kingdom.
So when Jesus said that salt losing its saltiness, it’s very essence, the one thing by which it was defined, was useless, He was making a really interesting point about the defining characteristic of His followers. Salt, sodium chloride, cannot lose its flavor. It goes against its very nature and would cause salt to lose its very name, because salt is named for what it, inherently, is. Without saltiness, it is nothing. If we as Christians are not being salt in this world, we lose the very thing that defines us and render ourselves useless in the Kingdom. As Christians, we are called to be “salt” to those around us – enhancing, preserving, texturing, inhibiting, purifying, nurturing, and yes, complicating the world around us, but only insomuch as we are able to retain the essence of what makes us, us.
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you,” Jesus said in John 15:19. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) If you are made new, you are salt, an agent of change in the world through Jesus Christ. Made for a purpose. But without operating as what you are, what are you, really??
Thought for today
“Good for nothing,” Jesus said. If you’re not acting as an agent of change in the world, what’s the point of following Jesus at all?? Fire insurance? BE. SALT. If you lack the courage to stand out and live “salty” right now, worship will draw you closer and closer to the heart of God. If you continue on this path of worship, your deepening love for Him will compel you to act on His behalf, to inconvenience or embarrass yourself, to sacrifice and extend yourself and go beyond your perimeters of comfort, as you would do for anyone you truly love. Worship is a lifestyle and like any other area of strength in your life, must be a discipline, a sacrifice, and effort on your part. But you know what? Unlike losing weight, when you start to worship, you’ll immediately see results and find you’re stronger from the get-go!