Summary: Some of the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century had a very literal take on the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, “if the salt loses its saltiness
Some of the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century had a very literal take on the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, “if the salt loses its saltiness, it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. At the end of the service they would have the Christians among them that lost their saltiness lay at the threshold of the door. The rest of the congregation as they were leaving the service would then walk on those who lost their saltiness. I don’t know how they decided who would trample and who would be trampled, but useless Christians who have lost their saltiness cause damage and Jesus used this imagery. They are: no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. In short, Jesus calls us to be salt and light.
We often times find ourselves living one our two extremes of the Christian life. One extreme is to just be an example. This extreme does not see the need to tell people about Christ. But people need to know why you are different and how through Jesus Christ, they can experience the transformed life.
The second extreme is to tell others about Christ but have a poor testimony. This person gives a verbal witness, but their life is not attractive to those without Christ. We are called to both. We are to be an example and we are to give a verbal witness. We need to have both of these elements of example and verbal witness to make an impact.
It is a powerful combination when we live a Christian example and that is accompanied by a spoken witness. To make this point Jesus uses a couple of examples that all his hearers on the Sermon on the Mount will relate to. We are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
The Salt of the earth
13"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 by men.
I heard a Pastor tell the story about one of his church members who worked in a salt mine. He asked them if he could tour the mine. I would imagine Jesus words on being the salt of the earth gave him this interest in seeing the salt mine. After visiting the mine he drew out the qualities of salt to our duties as a Christian.
What did Jesus mean when he told us we are the salt of the earth? Did he mean that we are little cubes of sodium and chloride? It means we make an impact.
After the expansion of a company was opposed by people of a town the company wanted to demonstrate the difference it made. So people would see the impact they started paying its employees in silver dollars. Soon after that silver dollars began to flow all over the town. Since no one was using silver dollars before this people could see the impact that was not noticed before. Once the town saw influence of the company they did not oppose the expansion.
It may not be obvious at first and it may go unnoticed by many but when we are the salt of the earth we will have a profound impact.
Salt preserves food.
In the time that Jesus spoke there were no refrigerators to store the meat and it was very hot. The meat could spoil in the heat so salt was rubbed on the meat to preserve it. The salt prevented the meat from spoiling.