“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matt 5:13
This passage is often used in conjunction with the next one that talks about believers being “light.” But I’d always been curious to know what on earth Jesus meant about us being salt.
Just as an aside, I love salt. I salt almost everything I eat (gasp! even Chinese food), but I especially like it in chocolate!
The Greek word for salt is halas and it was precious in ancient times. It was a condiment, preservative and was used on sacrifices. Because the people’s diet mainly consisted of vegetables, it was necessary for life. It was also used to make alliances and to buy and sell people; it’s where we get our word “salary” and the phrase, “She’s not worth her salt.”
Here’s the part I like the best. Salt was lightly applied to soil as a fertilizer. It was used to stimulate the soil and was valued for its purity. Commentators often refer to it being used as a preservative in this passage, but in context with the part about us being light, scholars believe it’s more likely that the proper translation is, “You are the salt for the earth.”
We are salt for the earth!
Really, think about that. Our world stinks and we’re here to make it better. Our society is decaying and we’re to be used for its preservation. We’re here to make the world healthier for others.
Also, salt was often mixed with impurities like gypsum dust and when that happened, it became worthless. When we’re impure – when we lose our saltiness – we become worthless in the same way a hidden light does no good for those who need to see. We can fail to be stimulating for others.
Helpful Garden Tip:
Salt can still be used in the garden today. Simply dissolve two tablespoons of Ultra Epsom Salt for every one gallon of water and substitute it for normal watering. You can do this one or more times a month to boost the soil in your potted plants.
So I have a question for us to ponder: What’s one way we can be salt for another person today?