Most of us have heard the expression: “Salt of the Earth” at some point in our life.
These words, uttered by Christ from his famous “Sermon on the Mount” start out rather boldly, proclaiming: “You are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5:13a NRSV)
But what does that mean?
Let’s reflect on just what exactly salt is and how it functions in this world. Then, from there we can uncover just what Christ might have meant in imploring to us that we are in fact the salt of the world.
The salt analogy can be broken down into three different trajectories. The first is that salt typically adds taste and flavor.
How exactly are we to be ones that can add flavor to life? The answer is the very simple, yet possible method of partaking in a community. Naturally, as a pastor, I would strongly recommend that this occurs within a church family and community, but it certainly can be found elsewhere.
Secondly, salt has been widely known to serve as a preservative.
God created the world, starting with light, then darkness, and then the sea and the sky followed by land and plants, the sun, moon, stars, sea creatures, birds, land animals, and lastly humans. We were entrusted with being caretakers of this marvelous place in which God has placed us. Not only should we care for and preserve the planet itself, we should also attempt to preserve our history, our traditions, and the lives of others.
If we are to be the salt of the earth and serve as its and its inhabitants’ true preservative, we need to do all that we can to ensure that our children, our children’s children, and even their children can enjoy this truly majestic garden of Eden God has created for us. It will not always be easy, but that’s how we live into the connection of salt as a preservative. We have the power and potential to preserve this planet for many years to come.
Third, and finally, salt is also known to incite thirst.
We all have been thirsty at some point in our life right? We know what it is like to have a giant thirst, and to have that same thirst quenched in some form or fashion.
In that way, the Bible is like salt. Once you get a taste of reading these words, these books and these testaments, your appetite is most certainly whetted. This living word of God’s is chock-full of amazing stories, harrowing escapes, heartbreaking tragedies, moments of joy and exuberance, and times of suffering, pain, and sorrow.
Once you get that taste of it, chances are it will not satisfy your thirst for more knowledge of God or insight into the Bible. Instead, it will make you thirst for more.
So one way to act as the salt of the earth and incite that thirst is to open up the Bible and read it by yourself, with someone else, or in a small group.
The other set of analogies that we can extract from this sermon given by Christ is that we too are and should be considered “light” as in one that provides a light source amidst darkness, a beacon or shimmer of hope, or a source of energy that can be easily passed from one to another.
Light can provide radiance and warmth. A light can draw others to it with a certain radiance and warmth about it. How does this apply to us? We can think of how we can change our own ways to become more relaxing, more inviting, and more warm to others. Can we say nicer words to others? Can we think nicer thoughts? Can we go out of our way to carry out an act of kindness?
Light can cast out darkness. We do not want to come from a position of superiority, but there are ways in which we can banish darkness through our light. We can be the ones to break down the barriers that are now causing others to be wary of other strangers and humans rather than open to them. We need to do whatever we can to purge this world of darkness and evil. The best to do that is to live a life of integrity, love, kindness, self-control and joy.
Let’s these analogies of the salt and light and implement them into our daily living so we truly can become the salt and light of the earth.
We can be the ones to make a difference in this world. With just a little pinch of salt and a slight shimmer of light, we can transform this world into a place that more closely resembles God’s Kingdom.