Have You Lost Your Saltiness?

 

Light bulb and salt shaker

“You are the salt of the earth.”

Every year a pilgrimage begins, however, the location changes.  This year all the attention was focused on Houston Texas.  Two teams of gladiators come together usually for a loop-sided competition.  This year battle was one for the ages.  And the warriors from New England came away victorious.  This event has become for many as a religious experience.  It has all the pomp and circumstance of the finest of galas.  Tickets to the event ranged from $5,000 to $16,000 and above.  There was a space-themed halftime show which can either revive or launch careers.  Just ask Bruno Mars.

As I sat and watched this spectacle and all the millions of dollars that were spent I could help wonder how would Jesus view the Super Bowl.  Would He see it as a tremendous waste of time and money?  Or an incredible opportunity to be salt and light on the world’s biggest stage?  Before we dig into that question, here is another matter.  What does it mean to be salt and light in the world?  That will be the topic of this post.

Have Christians lost their saltiness?

Jesus is not known for just throwing out meaningless metaphors.  Every metaphor He used tied into the culture, and people know what He was referencing.   Salt and light were fundamental elements in the daily lives people of Israel. “You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God…” (Lev. 2: 13)

The main source of salt in the region was the area of the Dead Sea.  The seven-mile long section of the salt cliffs along Jebel Usdum, also known as Mount Sodom is a hill along the southwestern part of the Dead Sea in Israel, part of the Judean Desert Nature Reserve was a prime source of salt mining.

The Hebrew people harvested salt by pouring sea water into pits and letting the water evaporate until only salt was left. They used salt for seasoning and as a preservative. Also, salt was used to disinfect wounds.

“Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?” 2 Chronicles 13:5

Here King Abijah referred to God’s covenant promise to David that he will not lack a man to sit on Israel’s throne as a Salt covenant – that is a covenant that can never be broken.

Today we have a narrow understanding of salt primarily as a spice giving flavor.  So, we hear Jesus in this verse and think “How can we lightly spice up a bland culture?”  But that is not what Jesus meant.  “Given the amount of salt needed to preserve meat without refrigeration, it is not likely that many ancient Jews considered salt primarily as enhancing the taste.”[1]  “Loses its saltiness” reads accurately as “defiled.”  The most common problem in the ancient world was salt being corrupted with other impure substances.   And that mixture would render salt worthless as a preservative.  The real danger Christians face is become mixed with the impurity of society and that combination making the Christian useless as a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“To be thrown out and trampled by men” as explained in Luke 14:34- 35 in is a reference to the world’s response to Christians.

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

If Christians are not functioning as the witnesses that we should be then we have lost out influence; we are losing our saltiness.   Do not function as they should. The temptation, especially with all the anger and pushback by society, is for the Christian just to play nice and make peace with the world this will avoid persecution.  We have a more important role; a divinely mandate it is: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” –Jesus

 

[1] “Lesson 10: Salt, Light, And Law (Matthew 5:13-20) | Bible.org.” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2017 <https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-10-salt-light-and-law-matthew-513-20&gt;

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Have You Lost Your Saltiness?

  1. Ooh I’m gonna chew on this one all week I think. Thanks for unpacking this popular quote from the bible. I’m craving context when reading and never sure where to find it so posts like these are little gems for me, thanks!

    Like

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