“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.” Matthew 5:13
In ancient times salt was a highly prized commodity as a preservative for food, particularly meat. With no refrigeration or canning, salting meat was one of the most effective means of preserving it – for preserving its value, and its capacity to sustain life.
But, for all its importance, salt carried no value until it was used. The gritty, crystalline substance was of little use until it was applied to the meat. Simply having salt ensconced in a tidy vessel was not sufficient to preserve the food that could mean life or death for your family.
For salt to fulfill its purpose it had to be rubbed into the flesh to be preserved, or dissolved into a brine in which the flesh could be immersed. It had to be used up. It had to be pressed, and ground and mixed into that which it was meant to preserve. For it to work, things had to get messy.
Salt that became mixed with impurities, or that couldn’t be refined out of the brine drawn from the sea or marshes, couldn’t be mixed with food. It was as useless as the dirt on the floor, and was swept out to the street.
Just as salt had to be refined, and then used up in the flesh to preserve it, so too must we seek to refine our spirit in Christ, and then put it to use. Just as salt was of little use sitting in a jar, so too is our refined faith kept from its potential when it’s safely cloistered in ourselves, and within the walls of our churches.
Like salt, we must get out and be rubbed into the world around us. If we are to preserve the life-giving, Christ-affirming potential of our families, our communities, and society as a whole – if we are to be the salt of the earth – we have to take our faith off the shelf and rub it into this world.
God, help us today to refine our faith in you, and to spread your blessings, to rub our faith into this world as the salt that preserves the living flesh of your Body. Amen.