OK. I have a confession.
I really have little clue what Jesus means by telling me that I am salt.
There I said it.
I feel like I SHOULD KNOW THIS. I mean, this description of us is central to Jesus’ VERY FIRST sermon. Ever. Matthew 5. It is groundwork knowledge for a Christian to hear and know that they are “SALT AND LIGHT.”
I get light. That one I can handle. But salt? Maybe I bring out flavor? Or give people hypertension? The latter maybe I could see?? Eh, but I have a feeling I am off base there.
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. Matthew 5:13
See. Does this leave you scratching your head, too?
Salt, in its original Greek form, is the word HALAS and “is a symbol of lasting concord, because it protects food from putrefaction and preserves it unchanged. Accordingly, in the solemn ratification of compacts, this is a practice that continues to this day in some cultures, partaking of salt together. It also means wisdom and grace exhibited in speech.”
And while this definition kind of helps, I still need to understand what Jesus is saying of me. It as if he is telling us something VERY VERY CORE about who we are. Salt and Sugar both have bad reputations today. But here Jesus is calling us to be something we are encourage to use VERY little of daily.
Becky, you are the MSG of the world. I can’t imagine this is what He is saying…. So digging deeper…..
Initially upon reading we want to apply our knowledge of salt to this descriptor. We know salt does a few things.
- Salt is used as a seasoning.
- Another use of salt in ancient times was as a healing antiseptic.
- Salt was also used as a wage in ancient times.
(In the Roman Empire, they paid their Roman soldiers in salt as a wage. Who knew!)
- The fourth use of salt was as a preservative.
And while it is ok to infer that there is metaphorical value here, I still don’t believe Jesus is saying that I am a healing antiseptic. You see, Jesus follows this statement “You are the salt of the earth” by saying “what good is salt if salt loses its flavor? Can you make it salty again?”
So the question is…. what could possibly make salt lose its flavor? That seems really difficult to do. Chemically, salt – sodium chloride – is a very stable compound. You keep it for years in a jar and it is still salty. So how can salt lose its saltiness? That, my friend is the CLUE to understanding Jesus metaphor.
Salt loses its saltiness by contamination.
Salt is a very unique and pure compound. But contaminated salt is useless. It can’t be helpful for ANYTHING we understand of salt…. flavor, preservation, healing, or wage/value. SALT IS UNIQUELY SALT. AND DOES VERY UNIQUELY SALTY THINGS.
So in Becky language, I believe Jesus is saying…. “You are unique. Stay away from anything that contaminates you. A contaminated Becky isn’t a very useful Becky. I need you to be MY LIGHT to this dark world.”
There is nothing else to describe the taste of salt except for salt. And there is nothing else to truly describe a Christian than a Christ-follower.
What is contaminating that? What might be proving us unuseful? What idols are distracting us from what God has us on mission to do?
Well, it can be MANY THINGS. But ultimately it is sin in our lives that wants to deem us unworthy and get us in a cycle of shame, guilt and condemnation and then we convince OURSELVES that we are not useful.
But sweet Jesus, he took that cross right up and died our death so we are ALWAYS SALT. ALWAYS LIGHT. ALWAYS USEFUL. Because we are HIS REPRESENTATVES on this earth and he needs YOU to be all the salty Jesus things.
So there you have it. Jesus is telling you ….. YOU ARE USEFUL and UNIQUE. And you are NEEDED by Jesus….. today.
So right now, if you are feeling anything but useful to the Lord, ask yourself, “WHY?” Maybe that is a pinpoint for us to say, “Oh, all I need to do is confesss that and receive forgiveness.”
And then move on. Don’t linger there.
- Take a few minutes to think through (or journal) areas of your life that make you feel less than useful to God. Name them and talk to the Lord about them. I pray you feel peace in your soul and a huge release from any bondage those lies might have been keeping you in.
- Second, think about how the Lord might want to USE those very things to bless others. He uses all things for good, remember! Not just the good ones! 🙂 The really bad things too! All our yucky past. All of our bad mistakes. In the Kingdom of God, those redeemed things are VERY USEFUL.
I love you all so much….. My sweet, salty friends.
What a beautiful paradox. Sweet yet salty. Mmmm.
And in Florida one might say #Staysalty! xoxoxo