“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13 KJV)
Savour… As in taste? Literally to make or become foolish. As we will see later in unpacking this verse, foolish, in a similar sense as in Psalm 53:1. As Christians, I think we all face a certain delima in the process of presenting the gospel. Once we have a firm grasp on what the gospel message is and we have headed out the door to present it here and there, there is a certain temptation that presents itself. Sweet or salty… If the manager in us takes control, we want to sweeten and soften the message so that it will not be rejected by anyone who hears it. Anything that might be harsh or offensive needs to be reworked somehow. There certainly seems like good reason to sweeten things. We read a lot about kindness, gentleness, mercy, grace, patience, and love. All these can certainly be found in Christ.
Then we read a verse like this a few chapters later. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34 KJV) If this was not obvious enough, it is found right in the middle of a chapter of instruction to His disciples about things to keep in mind when delivering the message He has sent them to deliver. Why a sword? What inside this message is going to divide and even within a given household? Think about this for a second. Salt has many useful properties in preservation, healing, and enhancing flavor; however, unlike sugar, salt makes drinking water unpalatable. Not too many types of fish can live in both salt and fresh water. Crystal clear waters in the Caribbean can appear fresh from their amazing clarity all the way to the shining white sands on the bottom, but one taste removes any doubt about the water’s saltiness. That which Jesus offers is a replacement for what currently is so full of sin. It does not merely mend and strengthen. Although he does mend and strengthen. There is a transformation so dramatic that it is similar to fish now swimming in salt water that used to swim in fresh. While Christians are certainly called to feed and cloth the poor, learn gentleness and love, and daily forgive; these are not extensions of a pretty good person who is now even better. These are evidences of a transformation that we would not naturally gravitate too if we had not encountered them in our life giving savior. To be salt to the world is more than being a preservation to a world that is certainly going downhill. It is more than adding flavor to an otherwise bland people. It is showing them that the life that Jesus offers is a complete transformation in surrender that may make everyone that was with them no longer have a taste for their company.
The really interesting part for the manager who only wants sweetness and nothing salty is that they may be trampled down by the very crowds they desired.
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6 KJV)