You Are the Salt of the Earth (not the sugar)
The first portion of Matthew, chapter 5, is referred to as the Beatitudes. The latter half of the chapter is what I refer to as the Do-Attitudes. As is common, in much of Scripture, you have the spiritual lesson first, then in the latter, the practical application of that which is taught in the previous part. Such is the case here. Our focus, in this discussion, is on being the salt of the earth. We will discuss both the spiritual implications and the practical application of being salt.
Why does Jesus refer to His disciples as the salt of the earth? Why not sugar? Sugar is sweet to the taste and delightful! Salt, not so much, at least by itself. In fact, for salt to have its proper effect, it must be applied. Salt must make contact to have an effect. Salt, alone, is not very tasteful. But salt applied is another matter. In fact, when applied properly and in the correct proportions, you don’t taste the salt, nor do you consciously notice its presence. Too much or too little is very noticeable, however.
Let’s consider some of the properties of salt so that we may understand both the spiritual implications and the practical applications of this lesson Jesus taught.
Salt is valuable
Salt has value. Many Roman soldiers were paid (at least partially) in salt. Salt is a grand commodity. In history, salt has been used in trade. Our lives would be very different if not for salt.
You and I are valuable to The Lord. We are His representatives on this earth until He returns. He loves us more than we can fathom. He has invested the greatest Treasure of Heaven, God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ, in us to redeem us to Himself. The Message that we carry to a lost and dying world, is of the utmost importance. We are His Messengers.
Our food would be virtually tasteless if not for salt. Baby food, for example, does not contain much salt. When baby first tastes food that contains salt, such as table-food, you are going to have a hard time getting them to go back to the former. I know this by experience! Have you ever been to a restaurant where the food is not properly seasoned? The first thing we tend to notice is the absence of salt. The absence of other seasonings will follow, but the primary thing is salt. I love to cook, and I love using seasoning. I grew up in west-central Louisiana. The culinary influence of Louisiana, and the south, was evident in everything my Mother cooked. This has naturally found its way into my own cooking.
Again, salt applied in the correct proportion is not consciously noticeable. When food is correctly salted, we don’t notice its presence; we notice its influence. Only when the salt is out of balance with the other seasonings, and the dish itself, do we tend to taste the salt or the absence of it. Salt is also used in the culinary world to brine meats, for example. This process is not intended to add the flavor of salt, but to cause the meat to retain moisture during the cooking process, which significantly enhances the flavor.
We might add that when too little salt has been added to the dish, this can be resolved. This necessitates careful and thoughtful application. Adjustments can be made as needed. However, when too much salt has been added, the result is disastrous. The entire dish is usually ruined. An expert Chef can sometimes save the day and make the dish palatable. Otherwise, you must start over.
This can be of great value to us, as Christians, in the spiritual application of this lesson. We can come-on too strong and ruin our testimony, and the moment, or we can take great care, prepare ourselves through His Word and prayer, depend on The Lord, and make maximum use of our influence with others.
Contrary to the opinions of many, Christians are the flavoring (seasoning) in this present world. Without the presence of Godly men, women, boys and girls, in this day, the condition of the world would be significantly different. The world, in general, and America in particular, is in a sad state, though many cannot see its condition. This is caused by a spiritual blindness that The Bible speaks of existing in the end times, and I am convinced is already beginning. Things look bleak to those of us who hold vivid memories of our childhood. We recall life as we have experienced it in America, growing up in small towns where people looked out for each other, respecting the Flag and our nation. We cherish memories of Sunday dinners after church, sitting on the front porch with family, relaxing rides out in the countryside, and living life in peace. I was blessed to live in a time when we never locked our doors because there was no threat to our way of life. It is sad that many have no experience with this kind of peace of mind, peace and safety in the home, and the security it brings to our lives.
I’ve no intention of turning this into a debate, but I grew up in a small town where hunting and fishing was a way of life. Virtually every pickup truck had a gun rack (usually a shotgun and a rifle) in the rear window of the truck. We never gave it a second thought because this was the norm. This was the cultural and community norm. I remember standing out near where we parked (there was no parking lot, just an open grassy area) near the high school, talking to one of the teachers or the principal about hunting and fishing. We often joked with each other about how big the fish was or how big the horns were on the deer we took. There were those same guns in the gunrack in our trucks and nobody had a problem or gave a thought about danger or harm to anyone. I realize that minds are exploding at the reading of this, but it is fact.
My Father was the pastor of the Baptist Church and my Mother was the Justice of the Peace, in our small town. I grew up seeing the good and bad in people, but we were safe in our homes. Millions have no concept of that kind of peace and safety.
Looking back, it is easy to see the reason for this. There was an abiding respect for Almighty God and America. People went to church and even those that didn’t frequent the House of God so much, still bore an innate respect for Jesus Christ and His church. Being a Christian was a thing to be respected, rather than ridiculed. Even the ungodly would not hesitate to call the Man of God, when they needed someone to help them, to bury their family members, or perform the rite of Holy Matrimony. It is easy to compare the decline in the moral fabric of America and the decline in the respect for God and Country. The fact that many will grimace at this statement is evidence of the its truthfulness.
Even in the face of the world’s current condition, and especially America’s, still Christians who name the Name of Christ, influence society more than the enemy of our souls would care to admit.
Salt is well-known for its preserving qualities. It is used in preserving food and many other things. Where I grew up, there were many farmers and ranchers. We had a canning center at the High School, where students learned through class time, as well as practical, hands-on experience, how to process beef cattle, for example. The intake area involved applying salt to the hides, for preservation.
I am convinced that The United States of America was founded for the express purpose of taking the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ to the world, in the last days. No other country or culture has offered the personal liberty to be a Christian or not, as America offers. The way that our government was founded and structured, allows freedom to all to worship and live as they please. Some have attempted to achieve greater protection to their liberty. Others seek to destroy our foundations to rebuild something they think is better. Let me assure you that it will always be better for them, not for you and me.
Christianity is at the heart of all that is America. This is what our founders based this country on, and when these foundations erode, it will be over as we know it.
Salt purifies and cleanses
Salt has healing power. Many use bath salts, salts for soaking our tired aching feet, and for keeping our skin soft and youthful-looking. You will find salt water used in swimming pools to keep the water clean. The oceans are salty and crystal clear. My family and I love to frequent the Pensacola area of Florida, where the seas are clear, and the beaches are white with sugar-sand.
God uses the Message of The Gospel to effect change in peoples’ lives. Our mission is clear: We catch ‘em, He cleans ‘em!
If you walk out into the ocean water with an abrasion or laceration of the skin, you will most definitely notice the sting. Hence, the saying, pour salt into a wound.
Sometimes the Truth of what God says stings a bit, so do some medicines, but the result is healing. We will never complete our mission by watering down the medicine God has provided, thinking we have a better idea; maybe the old ways are too harsh. Doctors give medicines to babies with a little sugar, but the child still gets the required dosage of that which will heal them. The idea is not the sugar, but the medication.
Salt causes thirst
This part needs little explanation. It is our prayer that people thirst after the Righteousness of God, but many will only see us and make the decision whether to proceed further. We must ask ourselves what people are seeing in our lives. Are we the cause of a genuine thirst for God in the lives of others? Do they want what we have?
In the Hebrew tradition, salt that has lost its savor, is said to have lost its proper mind or sense. It loses the properties that made it salt, and thus, salty. Chemically speaking, we are told that the basic properties of the chemical that makes salt, can never literally lose such properties, but in the world where these words were spoken and taught by The Lord, practically speaking, this was possible. The impure form commonly used in these days, contained enough impurities so that contact with the ground (dirt) could cause it to become insipid (flavorless), rendering it virtually useless. And even though it had lost its flavor, so to speak, it still contained enough of its properties to kill that with which it came in contact, such as the garden. It was good for nothing, just as Christ said, but to be cast on the walkways and roads, to be trampled under their feet.
I preached this message and entitled it: Have you lost your mind? As a Christian, I have a mission. That mission is to be what God called me to be. I can’t be anything else. If I attempt to do so, only disaster will follow. If you know Christ as Savior, you are salt, nothing else will do. We have a job to complete before His return.
Have you lost your saltiness, have you lost your mind?