Salt of the Earth

David Bast

Read: Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth. (v. 13)

“He’s the salt of the earth” we might say about a friendly, humble, easy-to-get-along-with guy. But Jesus is calling us to be more than just good guys (or gals). Salt was a crucial commodity in his world. Because of its purifying qualities, salt was used as an antiseptic. Salt is also a food preservative—very important in an age with no refrigeration. On the other hand, salt that isn’t salty is nothing but white sand.

What’s the most useless thing you can think of? Snow skis in the desert? A flat spare tire? A hairbrush for a man whose head looks like a cue ball? That’s what “saltless” Christians are like—good for nothing. Christ’s salt metaphor points to the whole range of positive roles we are meant to play in the world, things that preserve communities from decay or add zest to life. Jesus wants his followers to be a powerful force for good. Just as it doesn’t take a lot of salt to flavor a dish, so even a few salty Christians in a town, neighborhood, office, or school should make it both a better and a happier place.

Years ago our church’s youth group went on a short-term mission trip to Trinidad. The leader of the ministry they worked with there taught our kids a simple slogan that guided them throughout their time of service: Name Christian? Live Christian! That pretty much says it all. —David Bast

Prayer: Help me to be salt today in a world where much is decaying.