Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
Now that Jesus has described what it means to be a happy and blessed Kingdom dweller, he uses two dynamic terms to position us in this world—salt and light.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)
NOTE Jesus says, “You ARE the salt of the earth!” It’s not that you might be or you could be, but you ARE. Salt was used as a preservative to counteract the decay in meat. In order for the salt to be effective it must be out of the salt-shaker and applied to the meat. Salt is the invisible presence of God. It must be sensed! You’re the salt in the world around you—the invisible presence of God among those you touch. Just by your presence there ought to be a preserving of purity, honesty and fairness.
NOTE that salt represents the inner quality—the being of the equation. Therefore, salt is the best tag to place on the first four beatitudes—poor in spirit, mourning, meekness and hungering and thirsting for righteousness. These snapshots are all about being, not doing. They describe your relationship with the Lord.
A saltless disciple is good for nothing except to be thrown out and trampled under foot. Jesus uses the term tasteless. The original Greek word is MORAINO, which means to be foolish, to play the fool, insipid, dull, flat or deficient—literally to be a MORON.
In Rabbinic literature salt is associated with wisdom—a foolish disciple has no impact on his world. In a sense salt is a warning against being good for nothing. Also, salt adds flavor to things. Jesus is to life what salt is to food. Jesus and the Kingdom lend flavor to life to be a difference-maker. Flavoring it with your salt-like presence changes the world. You’re like a thermostat; you set the temperature.
It was Saint Francis who said, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” This is precisely what it means to be salt. You are the salt of the earth.