Salt • Devotion 5

Salty
Larry Gabbara

I like salt. My wife says that my salt meter is broken. I say I like to taste the salt on my food.

Salt is a commodity we use often and most likely daily. The Bible talks a lot about salt. Salt has for centuries been a symbol of taste, purity, preservation, fidelity, luxury, and welcome because of its characteristic qualities and usage in pre-medieval life and customs,. However, salt is also associated with negative connotations, namely being chastised, contaminated, and being seen as unhealthy. Jesus says that salt that loses its saltiness is good for nothing.

A few years back, my wife and I had an opportunity to visit Israel. One of the stops we made while there was to the Dead Sea. It was a very interesting place to visit. The properties of the water make it difficult to swim in because salty water weighs more than freshwater. However, you can float without any effort at all. It is very good for the body because of the unique minerals and therapeutic salt in the Dead Sea. Being 34% salt makes it impossible for anything to live in the sea. It is pretty incredible that nothing can survive in the salty water, but it is still good for our skin.

Matthew 5:13 says, “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.”

Jesus says to His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth.” Then, as now, salt served a variety of functions. Before the days of refrigeration, salt was used widely as a preservative by rubbing it into the meat. In some cases, it could be used as a kind of fertilizer. Also, of course, it was used to bring flavor to food. Today we continue to use salt in many other ways, from softening our water to melting ice on our roads.

Jesus’ call for His followers to be the “salt of the earth” carries those uses, symbolically, into our spiritual lives. Jesus started speaking in Matthew chapter 5 of the Beatitudes. As Jesus was speaking to the disciples, He continued His Sermon on the Mount by referring to them as salt. This made a lot of sense because, in their time, salt was a valued commodity. Also salt refers to them as having a long-lasting influence and value.

Our saltiness must represent our Christ-like influence on the world. We must be the representation of Jesus in our culture today. We cannot allow our saltiness to disappear, we must be an example to the world that we are children of God!

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6

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