Have you ever confused sugar for salt? That is what happened to me some years back. I mistakenly sweetened my potage again and again. The more I added the sugar, the more my potage became unpalatable. By the time I realized that I was adding sugar to my broth, it was too late. This happened at a certain eating house in Mombasa when I was still a student and on an academic trip.
Now imagine your favourite meal without salt! Even if you try to swallow you still find it revolting. That salt is important is a foregone conclusion. I can better put it this way; we need salt. It is not surprising that Jesus referred to His followers as the salt of the Earth.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
Historians say that the Roman soldiers were paid partly in salt. Etymologists believe that the English word salary originated from ‘salt’. Others posit that the word soldier can also be traced to the word ‘salt’. In Ancient times greens that were eaten were salted and probably that is how we ended up with word ‘salad’. Now you apparently have an idea where the famous English cliché, ‘worth one’s salt’ came from. This obviously shows the significant role salt has played in human civilizations.
Properties of salt
Jesus did not command us to be the salt of the Earth. His analogy shows that we already are. Every confessing Christian has salty functions. Thus the crux of the matter is our saltiness. As the salt of the earth, do we possess all the attributes of a good salt, fit for human consumption, or are we lacking in something? Salt that has lost some or all of its properties is unfit and of no help.
Salt comes in crystals; white crystals to be specific.
This symbolizes purity. We are to remain pure if we want to be effective. Our value will only filter to the core of human fabric if we espouse holiness. No one in their right mind can use discoloured salt.
And put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Salt crystals are transparent and colourless.
We are living at a time when honesty and openness are no longer cherished virtues. Most of our dealings are dishonest. We give with one hand and take with another hand. We talk from both sides of our mouth. Jesus is calling us to a life of transparency. Our crumbling social values can be restored with simple actions of transparent individuals.
Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Salt is soluble in water
Jeremiah 17:13 calls God the Fountain of Living Waters. The ability of salt to dissolve in water implies that we should be able to submit to our God in totality. We should melt into Him. He should be our hiding place so that when we retreat to Him no one can find us. It talks about a relationship that is seamless and secure. When did we last have a fellowship with God till we jellied into Him?
Our plans and purposes must always terminate into His. We must decrease as He increases.
Salt is non-combustible
Combustible materials catch fire whenever exposed to temperatures that permit so. As Christians, we are supposed to be resolute and enduring. The environment we find ourselves in should not dictate our lifestyles. Anger should be answered with amiability, dishonesty with honesty, hatred with love and strife with peace.
A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth invites a flogging.
Salt is a preservative
The preservation qualities of salt are meant to keep food free from pathogens. The disease-causing organism cannot thrive in food which is highly concentrated with salt. Christians are not supposed to fiddle while Rome is burning. Our duty is clear-cut. We are to provide not just spiritual but socio-economic solutions to the society. A society should not get spiritually, socially, morally and economically numb as we watch.
In addition, salt in a flavour-enhancer. We provide a nice flavour wherever we are. Bitterness and sourness should never characterize our environment.