Kolar: A little salt goes a long way
"If salt loses its saltiness when it is unused for too long, perhaps Jesus was suggesting that we lose our saltiness when we fail to practice our faith for too long..." writes Janel Kolar.
Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.”
Jesus called his follower “the salt of the earth”. That’s a great compliment, but it came with a caveat. He also cautioned that “unsalty” salt isn’t very useful. If salt is stored away and unused, it will eventually lose its flavor – especially the kind of salt Jesus was used to. That kind of salt contained impurities that caused it to lose it’s flavor quickly and when it did, it was simply discarded as useless. That would have been awful for a household in his time. Salt was expensive and valuable. Roman soldiers were often paid in salt. So having to throw it away would have been a tremendous waste of a much-needed resource.
If salt loses its saltiness when it is unused for too long, perhaps Jesus was suggesting that we lose our saltiness when we fail to practice our faith for too long – when we set aside that precious Bible for too long, stop praying and praising and worshipping together for too long, stop being useful to one another on his behalf for too long. We are the salt of the earth, but if that salt is stored away unused, it doesn’t do much good.
Of course, salt is a funny thing. We need it to live – cannot survive with out it, and yet, too much consumption of it can also be dangerous. Salt can season our food, but too much can also ruin a dish. Salt is necessary for life and is beneficial in controlling blood sugar, preventing asthma attacks, controlling the pH balance in our stomachs and relieving stress, but too much will raise your blood pressure, cause swelling in your feet, cause kidney stones and promote some cancers. As the salt of the earth, we need to know when to pour on the salt and when to hold back.
There are times when our saltiness can be more harmful than helpful. A good salty Christian knows just how to use our salt to enhance the flavor of life without getting carried away and ruining something good. We know this because we have a great teacher in Jesus. He not only taught us how to be the salt of the earth, he showed us by example. Following his lead will help us to provide the salt that is needed for a good life, while also using restraint and caution so that we are not doing more harm than good.
You are the salt of the earth….don’t store your saltiness away. Jesus needs it. But remember, a little goes a long way!