You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet (Matthew 5:13, Common English Bible).
Chemically, it is almost impossible for salt to lose it’s saltiness. Sodium Chloride, common table salt, is an extraordinarily stable mineral. This mineral, itself tastes salty. Combined with other things, makes them taste more or less salty, depending on how much salt you place on other things.
About the only way for salt to lose its saltiness is for it to be absorbed by something else. Even then, if the salt is absorbed by say water, the water would itself become salty. If the water were left in the sun to evaporate, the residue left behind would be salt. For salt to lose it’s saltiness in water would require significantly more water than salt. Even then, when the water evaporated away, there would probably be some salt left.
So, what did Jesus mean when he talked about salt losing its saltiness? In Jesus’ day, salt’s most common use was in preserving meat. Meat would be heavily salted in an effort to slow natural decay. Salt was usually obtained from salt marshes. The salt would contain many impurities. Often because of these impurities, the salt was not usable in its primary function, preserving meat. Therefore, this unsalty, salt was worthless. It was thrown out into the street and trampled under foot.
The metaphor doesn’t work the same today. Our salt comes from salt mines and is pure salt. There aren’t usually any impurities present. That wasn’t so for the ancients.
Jesus’ implication, however, is as true today as it was in the first century. There are impurities in the world around us. There are things that can contaminate us and make us difficult at best to use. We become the salt that has lost it’s saltiness.
Think about it this way. If a person is an accountant and volunteers to help a church with its finances and he then embezzles church funds, would he be trusted again to use his knowledge of money to help the church with its bookkeeping? It wouldn’t happen in my congregation. This is a person who has lost his saltiness.
This is just one example. In recent years, well known Christians have been caught in lies that have brought down their ministries. Losing the truth is like losing our saltiness.
For most of us these are extreme examples but the same thing could be said for the person who spends Saturday night drinking and Sunday morning repenting. Or, what about the person who talks about love and then commits some form of abuse against others?
The list of possibilities is endless. When we live out these “ways of life” we, in effect, lose our saltiness. We lose it because we have probably lost the way God gave us to make a difference in the world. And, once we have lost it, it is difficult to impossible to ever bring it back again.
You and I, we need to be constantly aware of the impurities around us. They might make us lose our saltiness.
In what ways are you in danger of losing your saltiness?
Have a blessed day in the Lord and Stay Salty!
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved