“Pass the salt, please!” How many times have you heard this phrase in your lifetime? When food is bland, our natural reaction is to enhance its flavor by adding seasoning. But what if we added salt and it had no flavor? What if we had no salt at all?
In Luke 14:34, Jesus asks a perplexing question, “if [salt] loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again?” As Christ-followers, we are called to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Until relatively modern times, salt was prized mainly for its ability to preserve foodstuffs, as well as to season food. This was particularly valuable in the hot Mediterranean climate where fish and meat would decay rather quickly. As Christians, we should possess and exhibit the same qualities and characteristics of salt.
Salt possesses three distinct qualities:
It has a perfect bond – Chemically, salt forms a perfect bond between two elements (sodium and chlorine). We too, have a perfect bond with Christ once we accept his free gift of salvation.
It adds flavor – Just as salt gives flavor to food, we add flavor to the world by living out the life that he has called us to and not conforming to this world (Romans 12:2).
It preserves and counteracts decay – As disciples, we need to remember all that God has done for us, and continually offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God and his purposes (Romans 12:1).
We also need to be willing to use our gifts, talents, time, and resources to “salt” the earth with the message of God’s love and redemption (Matthew 28:19). In Luke 14:35, Jesus says, “Flavorless salt is neither good for the soil nor the manure pile. It is thrown away.” If salt is flavorless, it has become ineffective. If we align our values to our culture instead of being guided by Scripture, we will become ineffective, just as the effect of salt becomes benign when it is dissolved in increasing amounts of water.
When we make a decision to follow Christ, we must be willing to abandon what culture deems right and instead embrace the Gospel and the truth that Jesus gives us. Allowing ourselves to become flavorless not only harms our ability to be effective communicators of the Gospel, it also inhibits our ability to be effective at all. We will not produce any sort of fruit in our lives.
What Jesus is telling us here is that our concern should not be about making something salty again, but about maintaining our saltiness. When we deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Jesus at all costs, we are being the salt and the light for a world that is tasteless and dark.
34 Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
What are some of the characteristics of salt? Does your life add flavor to the world around you?
What do you think Jesus meant when he said salt isn’t good for the soil or the manure pile?