Matthew 5: 13 states: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot my men.”
As a Christian woman, these verses speak to me and I am told to be salt. How is this possible? First let’s go back to the time Jesus walked this earth, when He spoke these words.
Salt played a major role in the lives of everyone living 2000 years ago as it does today.
There may not have been medical testing then like we have now, but they knew without salt for their physical bodies, they would die. Then and now, salt helps regulate blood pressure, allows muscles to expand and contract, maintains fluid retention necessary for every living tissue. Without the salt, digestive systems shut down. No person can live without salt.
Beyond the uses of salt to keep the physical body alive, salt is used many ways. For use in our food, we all know salt adds flavor and zest to our meals, it enhances our food.
Salt is a preservative. Before refrigeration or home canning, salt played a major role in preserving meat for long periods of time. Salt was rubbed into the meat, not just patted on the top. It entered the meat and kept it safe for long periods of time.
Salt is used as a deodorizer, a cleanser, to smother fires. Today salt is used in the manufacturing process of over 14,000 products here in the USA.
In Biblical times, salt was used as a currency. To have a high quality salt, meant you could buy at the market. Salt was formed into round coins and stamped with the imprint of the leader. They became “salt coins.” A few roads were known as the “salt roads” in direct response to al the travelers going to sell their wares, including the salt they had collected. This is the basis for our word “salary” which everyone enjoys receiving today.
In the verse above, salt is mentioned as being no good for anything except to be trampled underfoot if it has lost its flavor. This always puzzled me until I dug a little deeper. Consider when this was written, salt manufacturing meant you walked out and collected salt on the side of the lake or what could be found after water dried in the local watering hole. They would even dig into the side of hill mining for salt. This salt contained much more than salt, it may have contained toxins from the earth or nasty bugs that could make people or animals sick. The bacteria included could ruin the salt and render it tasteless, therefore, only the road, where people walked, was good enough for the salt to be tossed.
There is a verse that makes me grin each time I read it, and it’s found in Luke 14:34 and 35: “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who ears to hear, let him hear.”
In biblical times (and still used in places today) salt was used in conjunction with manure to cook. Camel dung and cow dung “pies” were dried. In outdoor clay ovens, a chunk of salt was laid on the hot surface of the oven and a “dung pie” was laid over the top of the salt and burnt. The dung would burn hot and produce the flame for the heat. When done, the salt was thrown out into the path where people would walk, as it wasn’t, like the verse states, good for even the manure pile any longer.
So, for me, each time I read this verse, I grin, just for the thought of having to cook a meal for my husband this way. He couldn’t change the babies diaper without gagging. I can’t imagine how he would react if I told him his meal was cooked over salt and manure?!?
Here are a few ways I can think of that the “salt principle” applies to my (and yours) life:
- Salt is necessary for our very existence. Inside me, as inside you, is a void in which only Jesus Christ can fill the hole. We need Him in our lives more than we need the salt found on the ground or our in salt shakers. Without Him, life is taseteless.
- Needing salt isn’t enough. We must be sure to get it into our bodies. We must search out salt, whether it be through participating in bible study, other respected Christian counselors, prayer or attending a Gospel believing church.
- When we find that salt, we need to be sure is isn’t contaminated with toxic substances. A toxic substance can be anything that dilutes the strength needed to bring change in our lives. “Salt” may be contaminated with bad judgment, bad teaching, or sour attitudes. Don’t let your salt become contaminated.
- Salt is a disinfectant, helpful in releasing infection. When God chooses to use salt in our lives, it may sting, even hurt for awhile. Don’t fight it. Let the infection caused by sin come to the surface and be healed. And don’t be surprised if this salt is applied by other Christians. God talks through His people.
- Salt is a deodorizer. Allow salt to clean out sin, the sin that causes the stinkin’ thinkin’ out, festering bad thoughts or addictive behaviors.
- Salt melts ice. Some of us may have a protective shell set around our heart, used for protection from fears: a few fears could be fear of being found out or fear our past life is too bad, or there may be hurts keeping us from wanting to be close. Allow the salt of God’s word to melt the protective ice formed around your heart.
- Salt is used as an exfolliant, helpful in washing away dead skin. Many times in our Christian walk, we hold onto things that are just traditions or we use the phrase “but it’s always been done that way.” Use your new knowledge found in the salt of the Word to see things from different perspectives. If necessary, let the salt wash away the dried skin of old ideas.
- Cheesemakers take cloths, thoroughly soaked in heavy salt water, and wrap cheese rounds before storing and curing the cheese. Salt stops mold. Now apply this to your life and allow the salt of the Word to soak around your heart as a preservative. It isn’t enough to go to the Bible once, it is a Powerful weapon, used to preserve our lives. Read it, devour it, savor it daily.
- Salt can be found in many toothpastes and mouthwashes. Salt helps clean your mouth. Applying the salt of God’s Word also will change the way we speak, how we interact with others. Allow the salt to sweeten your speech.
Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He spoke the Truth of being salt found in Matthew and Luke.
To believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior makes you a disciple also. How will you apply the “salt” of His word in your life? I’d like to hear your story. Please share with me.
Mark 9:50 “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be a peace with one another.”