Out of the Saltshaker
Near the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shared a very important truth with His disciples and everyone who was listening to Him teach that day. Just after He laid out the "blessing statements," also known as the "beatitudes" in Matthew 5, He transitioned to some very important concepts found in verse 13: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Salt is generally known for several qualities: seasoning, purifying and preserving. While we know of the benefits of salt for curing food and even for cleansing bacteria from wounds, its seasoning properties are likely the most common.
How many of us have reached for a salt shaker and, after applying the salt, take another bite and discovered that our food tasted the same as before. The salt that we just applied seemed to make no difference in enhancing the flavor. In humid climates the salt seems to stick together and even to taste like it has been watered down and is unsatisfying.
No matter how we may consider using salt, one very basic fact is indisputable: it must come into contact with whatever you wish to impact for there to be any benefit from its saltiness. While it remains by itself it is just a collection of grains of salt with other grains of salt and it provides no benefit.
This is precisely why Jesus told His followers that we are the “salt of the earth” because He intended for the savor of His love to transform us so that His love would flow out of us to bless, heal and lead others to salvation in Him. It is really the process by which He intended us to share the blessings of His transforming love with everyone around us. When our lives are flavored with the savor of the indwelling Christ, we will be moved to engage in the one-to-one blessing of reaching out to others in His name.
A number of years ago I came across a book entitled Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Pippert. The author went to great lengths to educate the reader on the benefits and properties of salt. She then described many of the followers of Jesus as salt that perpetually hung around other salt and just got all clumped up. She then drew the conclusion that if we, as Christians, remained cloistered together in our safe places rather than going into the world and applying the love of Jesus in another person’s life, then we were just like salt that remained in the saltshaker.
In Ellen G. White's book, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, she says, “When love fills the heart, it will flow out to others, not because of favors received from them, but because love is the principle of action. Love modifies the character, governs the impulses, subdues enmity and ennobles the affections. This love is as broad as the universe and is in harmony with that of the angel workers. Cherished in the heart, it sweetens the entire life and sheds its blessing upon all around us. It is this, and only this, that can make us the salt of the earth.”
By Phil Robertson, Executive Secretary/Treasurer