On August 7, I began a series of messages on salt; it was the preparation for this sermon series that birthed the idea of this blog.
I have heard lots of people use the phrase “salt of the earth” concerning the responsibility that followers of Jesus have. I think a lot of people have associated that being the “salt of the earth” with simply being active in the political arena.
Is that what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:13? That is why I decided to dig a bit deeper.
What I discovered was eye-opening. My responsibility to be salt is enormous. That’s because salt does a bunch of stuff.
As this blog continues to build (and it will continue to build out; so go ahead and subscribe to this blog!), I think it’s going to be important to remember how salt is used—and thus how Jesus wants to use us in this world:
1. Salt is a fragrance.
Leviticus 2:13 prescribed that every single offering that Israel gives to God be seasoned with salt. Exodus 30:35 points out that incense was made with salt. So salt provided a sweet, pleasant scent to God. When combined with 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, it’s clear that we as Jesus’ followers might bear a message that the world might consider bad-smelling, but our obedience is sweet-smelling to God!
2. Salt is as dependable as God.
The Old Testament speaks of the covenants that God would make with His people as “covenants of salt.” The idea is that the covenants were to be permanent; they would withstand the test of time and the other “fiery” tests. They would be able to take the heat. God is dependable like that; as His followers, so should we.
3. Salt is a healing agent.
Elisha threw a bowlful of salt into Jericho’s water supply, and the water became drinkable. Yet we read in 2 Kings 2:19-22 that it wasn’t the salt that made the water drinkable per se, but the God who made the salt. The water was “healed,” and the salt was the healing agent. Our fallen, broken, hurting world is full of broken, hurting people that need healing. As salt, we are agents of that healing. God does the healing, and He uses us in the process.
4. Salt is a cleanser.
In biblical times, newborn babies were rubbed with salt to dry and to cleanse the infant from all that is involved in the birthing process. In order to cleanse, the salt must come into contact with—yes, confront—the dirt that needs to be removed. Cleaning is never a fun process; but the results are always worth it. Don’t be surprised when God chooses to use you to clean up a mess in someone else’s life.
5. Salt is a preservative.
To keep meat from spoiling, it would be rubbed with salt in order to preserve it. As the salt of the earth—an earth that continues to insist on rebelling against God’s design, to its own destruction—we are the possessors and proclaimers of the truth that can halt the destructive march.
6. Salt is a flavor-enhancer.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus says that salt is good. It has good flavor. It enhances the flavor of food. It also makes you thirsty. We are placed on this earth as salt to give a watching world a good taste of who Jesus is, and to create a thirst for Jesus.
There are other uses of salt in the Bible, but these six are a good starting point. Feel free to add more uses for salt (along with the Bible references) in the comment section below.
But more than that, do a self-inventory. If the world is tasting your salt, are they getting a good, accurate taste of the goodness of Jesus?