Matthew 5: 13
In my current podcast series on the greatest thoughts in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (see below for how to find it), I had to leave out a lot of great sayings. I want to return to one of them today. Jesus taught His disciples:
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
There are so many problems in this world, and most seem unsolvable. Just this week, I had a restless time in the middle of the night, pondering a problem that is not mine to solve. But even if we can't solve all of the problems, Jesus still calls us the salt of the earth.
In Jesus' day, salt had at least three key purposes:
Purifier – Its pure white color was a part of the Jewish sacrificial offering.
Preservative – Salt was the most common product used to keep food from going bad.
Flavor – Salt enhances a meal, bringing out the flavor of other ingredients.
To be salt, we must be pure in an impure world. The world is always going to be riddled with impurities. The Christian is called to set an example of purity, goodness, and godliness.
To be salt, we must preserve things, like hope, faith and relationships. We must be protectors, preserving the people of the church, preserving those in need, preserving the light that Christ brought into the world.
To be salt, we must lend flavor to life, leading joyful lives in the Lord. We should bring out the flavor in other people. When the flavor is brought out, the whole combination "tastes" better, so we are the ones who coax the best flavors from others.
The metaphor of salt follows a general theme in the Sermon on the Mount of positive goodness. Jesus called us to go beyond hands-off piety, instead taking positive action, like providing purity, preservation and flavor. We can't solve all the problems of the world, but we can bring a "salty" attitude to the world. How can you be "salty" today?
As I mentioned, I am running a sequence of podcasts on the Sermon on the Mount, within my "Himalayas of the New Testament" podcast series. The February podcast, covering Matthew chapter 5 and the Beatitudes, is available now by searching for "Cecil Taylor Monthly Podcasts" on Apple, Spotify and Podbean.com. The March podcast will drop in a few days; I'll cover chapter 6's highlights, including The Lord's Prayer. Please indicate on these platforms that you would like to be notified of upcoming podcasts!