“You are the salt of the earth!” It’s you. Granted others are also, but the big difficulty is that we struggle with learning to identify ourselves as salt. Since the advent of refrigeration and since few of us butcher our own animals, we do not understand the significance of salt as a preservative. We have become accustomed to salt being inexpensive and easy to acquire. Our salt is fairly free of impurities and so we don’t have the experience of the white powder still being there, but the salt having all leached away (that’s right; at the time when Jesus was teaching, the salt what was in the kitchen, over time, could easily lose it’s effectiveness and become worthless).
Our role as salt is to change things. But look at how we are supposed to go about it. When you sprinkle salt on your food, you may notice that the salt doesn’t stay as “an outsider.” It becomes a part of the food. Far too often recently people are attempting to institute change by providing “The Christian point of view.” That’s not a very salty approach. Salt doesn’t make a big deal about posting “The Ten Commandments” in the courthouse. Salt ministers to the prisoners, to the officers of the court, and even to the attorneys. Salt doesn’t seek to make statements. Salt practices grace by ministering to people who are struggling, hurting, and oppressed. If salt is doing its job correctly, then you don’t taste salt. You taste the food and the food tastes better than it would without the salt. Very few of us sit down to meal of a good old block of salt. Why would we think that anyone else would want a batch of salt by itself? Yet we still fear blending and becoming part of the relationships where there is hurt and brokenness.
Salt looses its saltiness when it becomes inert, inactive. Salt does not does not do a lot of good in the salt shaker. Every Christian has their own gifts and abilities given by God to serve and to make a difference. The ways of serving are immensely varied and wonderfully different. You only know you are doing what you have been gifted to do in those moments when it comes together and you feel that sense, “this is what I was made for.” At that point the salt has come into contact with the place where it is really needed.
We have this problem with fearing loosing ourselves. We fear what will happen to our faith, particularly if we are in difficult situations. We fear what might be demanded of us if we take the risks of using our gifts or abilities. We fear that our limited resources of time, or money, or of other things we treasure will end up running out. What we don’t understand is that salt is self-replenishing (that’s where the analogy kind of breaks down). When we are using our gifts and serving God as we have been created to do, it gives us a great deal more than it expends. The rewards are far greater than what we offer. And in the end, we become joyfully involved in our ability through God’s love to make a difference in the world.
So if you haven’t already, get salty.