I hate salt. I do not put salt on my popcorn and I don’t like it on my baked potato. I also rub the grains of salt off of my fast food french fries. Thankfully, I have not had to do this for a long time because I am trying to stay away from Burger King. Even with my distaste for salty foods I still appreciate salt. I understand that salt adds flavor. One of my favorite candy bars has salt in the name, “Salted Nut Roll”. Even though Salted Nut Rolls are one of my favorites salt tends to drive me away from foods.
In the time of Jesus salt was used for many things. It was an antiseptic, preservative, and even, fertilizer. Today we use it for melting ice and softening water. Yet, both in ancient times and modern times the main usage for salt was and is the same…giving food flavor. Jesus points to this in Matthew 5:13 when he says:
Salt was a highly sought after commodity in the ancient world. Sometimes, Roman soldiers would even be paid in salt. Ever heard the phrase “he/she is worth their salt”? Anyway, salt was important. It gave sodium but most importantly it added flavor to otherwise bland foods.
Jesus’ aim isn’t to say that we can lose our saltiness meaning salvation. He is exhorting those who trust in him to give the world a taste of who Jesus is. Jesus said that we “are the salt of the earth”. The question is, “How can I become salty?” And that is a great question. We become salty by understanding the one who brought us from death to life. The deeper we understand Jesus’ work and teaching the more salty we can become. I see many people who are zealous for Christ but they lack a deep understanding of who he is. This zeal may allow them to engage people fervently but it does not allow them to give deep answers to life’s problems. We must not confuse zeal for saltiness. As we gain flavor we are to bring flavor to the world.
Jesus’ sacrifice was not only for the small group of people known as the Jews. His sacrificial mission was far greater than just one nation. It was a world-wide mission. We see this clearly in Jesus’ teachings. If we take Jesus’ missional call seriously, then we should be taking the flavor of Jesus to those who have not tasted him. Of course, there will always be people, like myself, who hate salt. Once they taste Christ they will spit it out and turn from it. Yet, there will be those that will embrace the flavor of salt. It will captivate and intrigue them. They will long for more of the flavor. Those people are why we are to be salty. We are salt because we want others to taste the glory of God’s grace.
I pray that we will be missional, bringing the flavor of Christ to the world around us.