By Rev. Scott Andrews
“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 underfoot.” – Matthew 5:13
“The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the greatest sermons preached by perhaps one of the best preachers around!” A seminary professor once said this – tongue in cheek of course – to a class I was a part of. Of course, it is the great sermon of Jesus. Of course, Jesus is the great preacher of the New Testament. And yet, we all need to spend more time in this section of Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 5:1-7:27). Over the next few months, I’m going to use selections of this sermon for my monthly Vinearticle.
If you didn’t wash the salt and sand off, it would corrode the underside. So, each Spring we washed the underside of our cars.
Growing up in South Dakota, one of the things that happened each Spring was washing the underside of your car. This is important as salt and sand would accumulate on the underside during the Winter. “How?” you may ask. In the Winter months, especially if there was a lot of snow and ice on the roads, salt and sand would be applied to the roads to help making driving possible. The main areas to receive this treatment of salt and sand were the intersections in town. If you didn’t wash the salt and sand off, it would corrode the underside. So, each Spring we washed the underside of our cars.
If you’ve ever taken a basic chemistry class, you know that salt is a catalyst. It can speed up or slow down chemical reactions. Apply salt to ice and it will speed up the melting process. Put salt in water and it will slow down the freezing process (hence applying it to road ways in the Winter). Add salt to a pot of water and it will speed up the boiling process. Salt is an amazing ingredient to add to a process. I think that’s part of why Jesus called us “the salt of the earth”.
“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. And then he follows with what happens if suddenly, we were to lose our saltiness. We would be worthless.
Salt had great value in the time of Christ. Salt was used as money. Salt preserved meat. Salt was used in healing. Salt was and important part of the world. I could of course use these concepts in support of Jesus’ comment. However, I want to talk about the idea that we are compared to salt as a catalyst because of what Jesus says in the statement that follows.
“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. And then he follows with what happens if suddenly, we were to lose our saltiness. We would be worthless. We would be of little use. If we as believers in Christ suddenly lost our ability to follow Jesus’ example of loving compassion for the world, we are worthless. If we suddenly lost our ability to care for the poor, we are worthless. If we suddenly lost our ability to seek justice, we are worthless.
If we suddenly lost our ability to help others, we are useless. All these things are the catalysts Jesus showed us to help bring about the kingdom of God. And if we were to lose our ability to bring about the kingdom of God, we are worthless.
My hope and prayer are that we all keep our saltiness. That we are the catalyst that helps bring change into the lives of those who seek it. Keep yoursaltiness!
In Christ, Pastor Scott