I love salt! Forget the sweet with me; just lead me to the savoury. Give me bacon and a Bible and I have the essentials! For I am a firm believer that salt makes life greater, as it is the great enhancer of the ordinary.
You have probably heard the expression, worth one’s salt. This is a way of deeming whether or not somebody is sincerely genuine and deserving of reward for what they put into life. Spurgeon gives an example of the phrase from one of his sermons. He preaches, “You’d do well in Lubberland, where they have half-a-crown a day for sleeping. That is to say, you are a lazy fellow, not worth your salt.” (Spurgeon, C. H. The Salt Cellars)
Christians are to be worth their salt in our culture, thus creating spiritual thirst in the lives of those around them. How are you doing with creating spiritual thirst in those in your family, workplace, sports team, or school? Do they see your good deeds and praise their Father in heaven (1 Peter 2:12)? Do they hear your words and ask the big questions of life because of the way you live your life (1 Peter 3:15–16)? Do you live up to the challenge of Paul when he says,
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17
Basically we create thirst by being salt, but as a Christian are you worth your salt? There is no getting around it, for you are either salty or you’re not. Jesus says,
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” – Matthew 5:13
Then in Mark He says,
For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt becomes un-salty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” – Mark 9:49–50, NASB
The “un-salty” is good for nothing. The Christian who isn’t salty is not worth their salt; they have no worth or benefit to Jesus. If you aren’t creating spiritual thirst in people, then what use are you? So then, let’s be people who embrace the “Salt Life,” and do this by getting out of the shaker. To do this let’s unpack and embrace the following observations about what salt does and how it could help us function as Christians.
1. Salt saves
In Jesus’ ministry context the primary value of salt was as a preservative. So, when Jesus says we are the salt of the earth we should understand that our presence and influence stops things from rotting! In all places at all times Christians need to be taking up space and glorifying God through godly lives. When this happens a part of the corrupt world has some real-estate redeemed for Jesus. Our moral actions serve as a preservative against the damaging effects of sin, and that’s why we need disciples scattered into all parts of industry, media, and government. Like a fridge keeping food fresh, a disciple can hinder and halt the deterioration the devil puts on this world. In the times before refrigeration, it was the presence of salt that stopped food from rotting. Have you ever thought about your physical presence as a Christian acting as a preservative in a rotting world? Salt saves.
But a note of caution: what good is it for Christians to stay in the ghetto of Christian culture and never interact with the real world? You know what happens? The Church has too much salt and gets clogged arteries and the result is that we let the world rot and at the same time we get unhealthy. Salt must be spread, for too much salt on one bit of food tastes horrible. This leads to the next point.
2. Salt seasons
Salt is a flavour enhancer. MacArthur writes, “Pure salt cannot lose its flavour or effectiveness, but the salt that is common in the Dead Sea area is contaminated with gypsum and other minerals and may have a flat taste or be ineffective as a preservative. Such mineral salts were useful for little more than keeping footpaths free of vegetation.” If we are to be the salt of the earth, then we are to bring flavour and freshness to life. Paul tells us to “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6) Salt serves the purpose of making food taste good. It provides flavour, making food enjoyable. What about you? Do you make life enjoyable? Do you bring flavour to the world in which you live? Are your relationships salt-seasoned?
3. Salt stings
I challenged us to pray about having a “holiness that hurts the eyes”. To live in such a God-honouring way that its impact would be like the sting of salt water to open eyes or a fresh cut. For disciples should be willing to stand for truth even if the truth they profess seems to disturb others. Let’s face it: it’s not easy to be the salt of the earth. It is uncomfortable at times, and you can face great mockery for following Jesus. Being salty will mean stepping out and having a presence for Jesus in a sinful world. It commands honesty, vulnerability, and Christ-like character. These are things that go against the grain of secular culture. Being the salt of the earth therefore inevitably means lovingly hurting others with truth, and often getting hurt because you stand for that truth.
Create thirst for Jesus by being a salty presence in this world. Be salt that saves through preservation, that seasons through words and deed, and that stings through loving and living truth. All so you will be a good-for-something Christian through shaking some salt around your world!
Pastor Andrew Edmonds