Jesus and Food – Be Salty

Jesus and Food – Be Salty

Jesus and Food – Be Salty.

“You are the salt of the earth.” (Matt. 5:13)

What did Jesus mean when He flatly stated that His followers were to be the salt of the earth? In other words, Christians are called to be salt. What was He getting at? Since salt has so many qualities and purposes, it seems the sky is the limit on what He could mean. Here are a few possibilities:

1. Salt preserves meat and keeps rottenness from spreading to spoil all the meat. Christians are called to preserve a dying culture; to bring health and goodness to society to help it flourish; to prevent sin from spreading its rotting influence.

2. Salt enhances the flavor of food, makes it edible in some cases. Salt brings out good tastes through its seasonings. So, Christians are called to bring put the best in people; to add zest and zip to life with others; to add liveliness to people and culture. “You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?” (Eugene Peterson).

3. Salt only works well when in direct contact with food, when mixed right into the food. Christians operate best when directly mixing with society and personally present with this world. Believers need to be in direct contact with the world, ground into life, into the mix of people and circumstance, instead of neglecting, avoiding or being fearful of the world. Believers must be comfortable escaping the salt shaker.

4. Salt is used as a healing agent, especially when mixed with water, and treats everything from sore throats to stings to toothaches. Christians are called to be a healing force in this world, applying the Spirit of Christ to troubled, broken or wounded people and relationships. Christians are called to promote human flourishing, wholeness and vitality.

5. Salt is literally earthy, down to earth, common, close to the ground. Likewise, Christians are most effective when not sanctimonious, holier than thou, think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, but instead identify with the needs and joys of common humanity.

6. Salt is mentioned in the Old Testament many times as  a symbol of purity (Ex. 30:35; 2 Kings 2:19-22; Ezek. 16:4). So Christians are intended to be reflective of God’s purity, so others in the world can at least get a glimpse of God’s character and goodness. The pure in heart are blessed by God and are a blessing to others. “Purity of heart is to will one thing.” (Kierkegaard).

7. In Jesus’ day, people would put salt on the wick of a lamp, because it would increase the light’s brightness. Rabbinical literature equates salt with wisdom. So, when we Christians apply the salt of wisdom to our lives, our little lights shine even brighter. (TPT).

8. Salt creates thirst, and makes people develop a desire for water. A Christian’s goodness inspires others to become good themselves, and actually makes goodness attractive, not repugnant. True goodness  is salty, and makes others desire the spiritual refreshment of the “living water.”

9. Salt is necessary for our physical health, is found in our blood, and is needed for healthy cell development. Christians are needed to maintain the spiritual health of a society, a community, a family, an individual. Human structures depend on the salt of the Christian faith in action.

10. Salt is worthless if it loses its saltiness, its reason for being. The Christian life is futile, empty and worthless if it loses its fruitfulness. Christians are called to bear fruit.

11. Salt is crude, unrefined when harvested. Christians are not perfect, polished or successful in the world’s eyes, and are still useful for God’s purposes.

12. Only a little bit of salt affects a large amount of food. Only a small handful of Christians can make a big difference in the world.

13. Salt causes stinging when used as a healing and cleaning agent. Sometimes speaking the truth in love may hurt or sting, but it will eventually bring health.

14. Salt can gradually melt hardened ice. When the salt of love is applied with patience and faith, even the hardest of hearts and most stubborn of minds can be softened.

15. Salt absorbs heat from surrounding objects and thus can seal up cracks in hard surfaces. In the Old Testament times, salt is used in a covenant ceremony between warring families or people. Salt was used to seal the promise of peace. Christians are called to be peacemakers, sealing up the cracks in relationships.

16. Salt is most useful when serving its natural purposes. Christians are most effective when simply living the Christian life, following Jesus in word and deed, and being salty, not spectacular. “The serene beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world next to the might of God.” (Pascal).