Salt of the Earth

Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

—Luke 14:34–35

Most of us have heard some people described as being “worth their salt.” This saying dates back to Roman times when soldiers were often paid with salt. Salt was also necessary in preserving stored meat, as meat would quickly go rancid if not packed in salt. When salt lost its preserving properties, it was thrown out into the street and trampled underfoot (Matt. 5:13).

To the listener of Jesus’ day, the illustration of salt would be well understood. When salt loses its worth, it is useless. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 that we are the salt of the earth, and when we couple this with our passage in Luke 14, we learn two things. First, we are the only thing that keeps this world from being completely rotten, and second, if we lose our flavor, men will trample us and throw us out.

So how does salt lose its flavor? By being used. Take, for example, a prime rib roast. Many cooks pack the roast in salt before cooking it. However, after the cooking has been completed, they do not take that salt and attempt to put it back into the saltshaker. It has lost its flavor, or purpose.

The spiritual truth Jesus is teaching here deals with participation in worldly things, things that are rotten. When we laugh at or tell dirty jokes, we lose our purifying influence. When we attend the kind of party that a Christian should not attend or give our money to a movie that promotes sin and blasphemes God, we lose our purifying influence. In either case, the people of the world will trample us underfoot.

You are the salt of the office, you are the salt of the warehouse, you are the salt of the community; but if you lose the purifying and preserving capacities of salt by participation in sin, you have let the world trample you underfoot.

Be worth your salt today. Stand alone, if you have to. Be the only one who says no—or maybe says yes. If you are the only Christian in your sphere of influence, you are the salt of your world!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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