Salt has been a significant part of civilized life since 2700 BC. The Greeks used salt as payment for slaves, which is where the term, “not worth his salt” is derived. Rome made rations of salt called salarium argentum, which they distributed to soldiers during times of war. This became the forerunner to the modern term “salary.” When the Chinese discovered that salt was vital for human survival, they implemented a salt tax.
The importance of salt for survival and the significance of its use economically are significant in understanding the meaning Jesus intended for his listeners when he spoke about being this stuff–being salt.
But first let me ask you a question…
What excuses have you heard recently? We can look around almost every corner and see injustice, deceit, and spiritual blindness. Problems are rampant and immorality is becoming exponentially more acceptable. What can a Christian do to make a dint in the issues surrounding us in the political, and pop culture spheres? Even church denominations are throwing in the towel, reversing long held moral standards in what seems to be a “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” mentality. Is there any point in trying?
There are so many reasons to jump ship or to just sit back in silence, only hoping that Jesus comes back very soon. Is that the best plan according to the Bible—just sit back in silence waiting for Christ’s return? What does scripture say we should do?
Jesus commands us to be Salt and Light. Jesus points out when salt loses its saltiness it is good for nothing (Matt 5:13-16). Light hidden under a bowl is just as useless.
The Bride of Christ must engage and be involved in societal issues, for salt cannot preform its effect if it does not come in contact with anything. Hopefully it goes without saying that we should not try to overthrow governments but rather to guide and illuminate them by the light and truth of God’s word.
Jesus’ listeners would have understood the metaphor of salt as a call for his followers to be a preservative to the world. This means that in order for the Church to prevent the decay of the world it must be in direct contact with the world. Retreating will not allow the Church’s saltiness to take effect. Also similar to a salt sprinkled on a winter road, the salt of the Church will de-ice the frozen hearts of those who have become cold to Godly and moral living. The saltiness of the Church in the world will make people thirsty for God’s living water.
While there is no perfect formula, a balanced approach to being involved in the world guided by prayer, God’s Word, and the Spirit of God is an appropriate framework for answering Christ’s call to being the salt and light to the world. I hope that we can overcome the excuses and the daunting feelings of not being able to make a difference in this world by building up our faith in God and His call for us to be obedient to His word.