Worth Our Salt
Read Matthew 5:13 (ESV)
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.
Why do you think Jesus would compare His followers to salt?
Have you ever heard the idiom “he’s not worth his salt?” When someone says that, they usually mean that someone isn’t worth their pay or they aren’t worth respecting because they aren’t good at their job. Basically, they aren’t fulfilling the role they are supposed to fulfill so it really isn’t worth it to keep them around. On the contrary, if they are worth their salt, they are competent, useful, and valuable.
But where did this saying come from? Well, in ancient times, salt was not nearly as common as it is today. The salt trade was a huge market and merchants traveled great distances to distribute it. It was so valuable because it was used as a preservative to keep food from spoiling. Roman soldiers are even said to have been paid in salt. In fact, many think that is where this saying originated. Without salt, their food rations would spoil and they weren’t able to travel very far. A soldier worth his salt was one that could be counted on. A soldier that wasn’t worth his salt, was incompetent and should be sent home. He was not worth the expense of his salt ration.
In today’s passage, Jesus said that His church is the “salt of the earth.” But what in the world does that mean? It means that as believers who represent Jesus Christ, we should be preserving the culture and slowing cultural decay. And we should leave a pleasant taste in the mouths of those around us while we do it.
There is no doubt about it. Sin is everywhere in our world and seems to be increasing in our culture. It is critical that Christians do not lose our saltiness! If we are the same flavor as the rest of the world, we are bland and unnoticeable which makes us less effective. If we lose our saltiness, we won’t effectively slow the decay of sin and it will completely overwhelm our society.
And yet, in trying to keep our culture from spoiling, some Christians have left a bad taste in the mouths of others. Acting in an arrogant or self-righteous manner is repellent rather than attractive. We don’t want to shy away from boldly declaring the truth of God but we can do that in a winsome and loving way.
Friends, salt keeps food from spoiling but it also enhances the flavor of it. As Christians, we should be seeking to preserve our cultures from the effects of sin. We want to keep our communities from rotting! But we should also be seeking to make the world a more savory place and we do that by loving and serving well. We don’t want to lose our saltiness. Bland Christians are ineffective Christians. Let’s be Christians who are worth our salt!
Lord, I want to be a Christian who is worth my salt. Help me to positively influence my community and preserve it from the negative effects of sin. Help me do this in a way that doesn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth of those around me. Help me to bring a distinct flavor to the world that makes others want to pursue You. Amen.