By Bill Byrnes
Matthew: 5:13 You are the salt of the earth…
Whenever we hear this quote we think about Jesus comforting the average, day-to-day worker and that’s a good thing! But I’m certain there’s more to it than that. Salt does have a unique place in history. It’s been a significant factor in the development of civilization. It was used to flavor, preserve and purify, and, was also used as medicine.
Some interesting facts about salt:
* Neolithic settlements were discovered near salt springs;
* In ancient Greece salt was exchanged for slaves– giving rise to the phrase-“not worth their salt …”;
* Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, encouraged all healers to use salt water for healing various ailments;
* the earliest treatise on pharmacology, composed in China in approximately 2,700 B.C. discussed over 40 kinds of salt;
* Early Mideast traders found the value of salt EQUAL to the value of gold–ounce per ounce;
*the book of Leviticus called for salt to be added to all burnt animal sacrifices(2:13).
The history of salt offers many more interesting facts. But, with this expanded view of salt’s value- we can see much deeper meaning in this quote from the book of Matthew.
It sounds like Jesus was telling his disciples( & all Christians) how valuable they really were! Also, it’s easy to see the metaphor of being the “preservative” for mankind, protecting it from “rotting away” from all forms of sinful behavior. Follow this into the application of the “purification” of society–the striving for total absence of sin; unattainable, yes,(Romans:3:23) but why not set the bar high? Finally, salt gives a fulfilling, satisfying flavor to food. When we strive to become more Christ-like, thru our love of God, our life takes on an indescribable flavor–a flavor generated by love, and giving to others. We experience that feeling generated by the tranquility and security of knowing that our “father” is there for us now and–FOREVER!
But, there is also a warning. Let’s look at the rest of this quote: Matthew:5:13 :“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on.”
What is Jesus saying?—When you talk the talk you HAD BETTER walk the walk! How many times have you observed very “pious”, holy, people caught up in scandalous behavior? We can all think of some names here, but, that’s not necessary. What’s important is that the respectability & influence of these people is gone. They have lost their “salt”–and will never recover it!
When we’re caught contradicting ourselves–flip-flopping–we lose credibility. We lose the “flavor” thru which we gained respectability for both us & our viewpoints! As all of us move forward throughout 2016, something we have to remember as we try to advance our causes is to remain CONSISTENT. We cannot fall into the trap of compromising what we believe in for any gains, whether temporary or perceived. Let’s hope our Congressman grasp this and stand “strong” against the dilutions of compromises that will take the “flavor” out of any legislation that furthers the quality of life for the 99%.Jesus experienced the extreme measure of not compromising thru crucifixion. But, in a metaphoric sense, us and our causes will verbally be crucified if we give in & start “flip-flopping”.
This next election year is certainly among the most critical one in our history! We must stand true to our beliefs – political and biblical! Remember this: however tough it gets ,and, above all–DON’T LOSE YOUR SALT!