“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)
I like salt. It’s difficult to decide if I prefer sweet treats or salty treats—I like both. The recent trend of adding salt to sweet treats makes me giddy. The first time I saw sea salt on a chocolate covered caramel I was skeptical. It took one bite to change my mind.
The little bits of salt made the flavors of the chocolate and caramel come alive. There were subtle tastes—vanilla, cocoa, and the caramelized sugar– all enhanced by that little sprinkle of salt that sat on top of the candy. That chocolate covered caramel—good on its own—was made very good by the salt.
The Importance of Salt in History
Salt was important in history. It’s important today, too, but since it’s so common our society takes it for granted. If you work for a salary you should know you participate in a long, glorious history. Ancients were paid “salt money”—in Latin—samarium. It was the money that allowed the worker to buy salt—that’s how important the common compound we take for granted was in history.
Accomplishing Its Purpose
Jesus tells His listeners, “You ARE the salt of the earth…” Then Jesus goes on to say something that always confused my scientific mind as He talks about salt losing its flavor. Chemically speaking, sodium chloride, salt, is very stable. It doesn’t react with other chemicals without some major intervention. The salt you have in your cupboard, might get hard and clump together, but it won’t chemically change over time. It will always taste like salt. In ancient times, salt was used to make fire burn hotter, after that the salt was “unusable” and thrown in the roadways—still sodium chloride—if you tasted it would still taste salty and probably smokey.
There is only one way I can think of that salt isn’t salty—if it’s not used. Salt that remains in the shaker doesn’t make anything taste better. For salt to accomplish its purpose, it has to be mixed in the food. For salt to preserve food from spoiling, it has to have contact with the food.
You ARE the Salt of the Earth
The believer is called to be in contact with the world. The role of the believer’s life is to enhance the flavor of God in the world—to bring out the subtle qualities of God’s character that might be missed by the world—goodness, kindness, love, gentleness, meekness. YOU—the believer—is how God draws attention to Himself. YOU are God’s attention-getting device in a world that is bland and many times distasteful without Him.
YOU ARE the salt of the earth. Enhance Your heavenly Father’s presence today in a world that might miss the flavor of a God who wants to be known. Just a sprinkle will make all the difference.
Father, remind me that a “sprinkle” of You is all that is needed. My small acts of goodness draw attention to Your goodness. My deeds of kindness, although small can bring glory to Your kindness. Help me understand that the world around me doesn’t need a “pound” of goodness—but many small sprinkles from those who claim to be Yours. Help me be salty today.