Summary: Five Qualities in which Christians are to be Like Salt.
“Called To Be the Salt of the Earth”
“A Peanuts cartoon, showed Peppermint Patty talking to Charlie Brown. She said, "Guess what, Chuck. The first day of school, and I got sent to the principal’s office. It was your fault, Chuck." He said, "My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?" She said, "You’re my friend, aren’t you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me."
While Peppermint Patty was seeking to pass the buck, she was in a very real sense right. We should be a good influence on our friends. We certainly do have an influence, for good or for bad.”
This morning and this evening I want to do a two-part series on believer’s being the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World. This is of course found as a part of the greatest sermon ever preached, “The Sermon on the Mount” preached by the Lord Himself. The theme of that great sermon was how people of the kingdom of heaven are to live. Jesus was saying, “Those who are My disciples should affect the world in a positive way by the way in which they live.” This morning we will deal with believers “Called To Be the Salt of the Earth” and this evening we will deal with Believers “Called to be The Light of the World.”
In Matthew 5:13-16, we read, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (14) "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Jesus gives us no explicit explanation of the word pictures of salt and light that he uses in these verses, unlike the Parable of the Sower in chapter thirteen, where he tells us exactly what he wants us to understand. Here the reader is left to come to an understanding of these images on the basis of how these things are used in the world around them. We must then seek to understand “What Is It That We Are To Understand About Salt And How Are Christian’s Like Salt?”
First, Christians Like Salt Are Of Infinite Value.
Jesus said to his followers “You are the salt of the earth.” But we miss something in the modern English translation; the KJV translates this verse “Ye are the salt of the earth.” Now “Ye” is a good Southern word, it means “Ya’ll” (that is “you all” for you people that not of Southern origin). Jesus is saying, “You all of you are the salt of the earth.”
Jesus refers to his handful of basically uneducated disciples and referred to them as the salt of the earth. What great dignity Jesus bestows on his followers. What a great compliment! Because salt was a necessity of life in ancient times and thus great value was attached to it. Salt was so important that it was sometimes used for money. The Roman soldiers of Jesus’ day were at times paid with it. In fact, our word “salary” comes from the Latin word salarium which referred to the payments to the soldiers with salt. We still use the phrase saying that someone either is, or is not, “worth their salt.” We don’t think much about salt because we can get as much of it in pure form as we want. It is just that little bottle with holes in the top on the table. But when you are completely dependent on salt to preserve your food, and when it is so valuable that it is used in the place of money, you get a completely different perspective on salt.
Because we live in a part of the world where we have an abundance of food we don’t understand the monotony of the diet of those who lived in Jesus’ day and for most of those who live in third world countries even today. In a great portion of the world rice is the common food, three times a day. In part of Africa today the subsistence food is corn meal, at every meal. In fact the Swahili word corn meal is “posha” meaning daily ration – corn meal given to workers on a plantation. I remember our missionary to Tanzania telling of the local dish called “ooh golly” he said it was appropriately named because that is definitely described its taste - “ooh golly.” Without salt to make it palatable, it would be difficult to continue to swallow the same monotonous food, time after time. In Job 6:6 the Bible says, “Can flavorless food be eaten without salt?” For this one reason alone salt is indispensable.