Summary: Some time back, our denomination’s District Executive minister wanted to get to know me, since I was a new minister in the region. He wanted to treat me to an authentic southern breakfast, so he took me out to a Cracker Barrell Country Store. He ordered “Grits.”
Introduction: Some time back, our denomination’s District Executive minister wanted to get to know me, since I was a new minister in the region. He wanted to treat me to an authentic southern breakfast, so he took me out to a Cracker Barrell Country Store. He ordered “Grits.” I was dreaming about a delicious breakfast. The waitress brought me back to the real world by placing a bowl of Grits in front of me. I put a spoon full in my mouth, you should have seen my reaction. It tasted awful, and bland like glue. My friend told me to add a pinch of salt to it, when I did that and with a bite of beacon, it tasted I wouldn’t say heavenly, but better.
Then I realized how essential salt is! We don’t know the true value of salt until it is not there. After delivering one of his powerful sermons, called “The Beatitudes” or the sermon on the mount, in order to highlight their value, versatility, purpose and the relationship of God’s children to the world Jesus called his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth.” He further went on to say, “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It’s no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
You may have heard this statement, “You are the Salt of the Earth.” The question you need to ask yourself is, what kind of a salt am I? Today we will unpack what it means to be the salt of the earth. Can a Christian lose his saltiness? What are the implications for us personally and as Hope Church to be the salt of the earth? We will be looking into some of the general qualities of salt, the biblical usage of salt and how Christians are to be salt in this world.
I THE USE OF SALT IN THE BIBLE
During my study I learned some interesting things about salt. When we think of salt, most of us probably think of salt as simply a white granular food seasoning. In fact, only 6% of all salt manufactured goes into food.
Apparently, we use salt in more than 14,000 different ways from the making of products as varied as plastic, paper, glass, polyester, rubber and fertilizers to household bleach, soaps, detergents and dyes etc. Salt is actually a mineral in its natural form, it is called rock salt. It is composed of sodium and chloride. Salt is extremely important for the alimentation of all mammals, including humans. Iodine (commonly found in dietary salt) is an important micro-nutrient for humans, and a deficiency of the element can cause a myriad of hormonal problems.
For this purpose, it was sought after commodity since before the Antiquity. The first evidence of extracting salt (by boiling spring water) comes from Romania, and there is evidence of saltworks in China in about the same period. It was highly valued by the Chinese and Arabs, as well as the Romans and Greeks. Roman soldiers were actually sometimes paid in salt – this is where the word ‘salary’ comes from.”
The Bible contains numerous references to salt. It was used as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and as a unit of exchange. Consider the following scriptures: It was used as a preserving agent. All the meat-and grain offerings were seasoned with salt (Leviticus 2:13). To eat salt with one is to partake of his hospitality, to derive subsistence from him; and hence he who did so was bound to look after his host's interests. Ezra 4:14 “Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king’s dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king,” (RSV).
God directed Elisha to use salt to cure bad waters and the unfruitfulness of the land (2 Kings 20-22). God used salt to make two important covenants one with the Levites and other with the house of David. Numbers 18:19, “All the holy contributions that the people of Israel present to the Lord I give to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due.
It is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord for you and for your offspring with you.” 2 Chro 13:5, “Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?
Here, a covenant of salt suggests an agreement of enduring qualities. Salt is understood to be the preservative, suggesting endurance. Coming back to our passage, where Jesus used salt as a metaphor to explain the relationship of his disciples to the world. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” Let’s unpack this impactful statement.