“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” (Matthew 5:13a)
Salt is amazing. Don’t wanna use too much, obviously, but if you’re keyed in to the taste of what you’re eating and then add a dash of salt, a few crystals, it’s glorious. It’s like something in your brain awakens and you can’t go back to eating the way you used to. And Jesus above just compared Christians, i.e. those who follow and believe in and love Him—to salt. But why? I would first like to make mention of the fact that salt serves one purpose: to be salty. Yes, we can pour it on our food or enjoy some health benefits provided it’s done correctly. But salt is salty, how else can I say it? It’s good for one thing. And with reference to God, if the Lord wants to use us to heal or to enliven the human experience for those around us, what can He do if we’re not walking with Him, allowing Him to enable us to do those things?
“It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13b)
Ooh. That’s pretty serious. I would like to say real quick that it would seem one of the onrunning themes in the Word of God is that of Him using any and everyone to teach His kids a lesson. Or lessons. Correlate this to Jesus’s warning that those who neglect the main purpose of their life will essentially be walked all over and you see Him continue to reference this paradigm of suffering. Suffering at the hands of those who don’t know the Lord (the Children of Israel in Egypt, et. al.). God wants to keep His children safe from the ravages of those who would enslave and subjugate and otherwise neglect and disavow them. Now, don’t confuse this with the suffering that those Christians, white-hot though they may be, encounter and live (and sometimes die) through. The suffering Jesus references in His salt analogy is essentially wasted suffering. Nothing in this world worse than wasted suffering, I might add. And the Lord can certainly turn around any wasted suffering and use it to His advantage and His glory (see Joel 2:25). But if you don’t need to go down that path, don’t. By all means, please.
Silt and solution
“And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.” (2 Kings 2:19-22)
Amazing. There you have it: God using Elisha to spill into the headwaters of a polluted river a highly unconventional solution. Pouring a “cruse” (anything from a bowl to a high-necked vessel, not sure) full of salt into that which gives life to all it flows into. I find that it’s a similar way with us as believers. Granted, the pouring of salt into a wound not only hurts but it’s also metaphor for “making things worse”. And when we live in and among those who may not be walking the best way that God would have them, it tends to, how can I say this, rub them the wrong way. But this is a good thing. That salt, that irritant, brings to the surface something God wants to deal with and see healed. So pour it in. Notice the “situation” of the city. In other words, it was geographically ideal, Placed in a good spot. Location, location, location, and all that. Perhaps the climate was nice or it was founded on fertile soil. But then again, the soil was corrupt as well. Drought will do that, I suppose. And all Elisha had to do was pour the cruse of salt in to the “spring of the waters”. That’s it. But if you want to know how something so groundbreaking and momentous could come from so simple an act, look back over his life. He went through a lot to see the anointing of his master Elijah passed on to him. Even going so far as to receive a “double portion” (2 Kings 2:9) of the same spirit that rested upon Elijah. All it took was that he maintain the closeness to his liege that his special anointing required. And so he got more. God promised (through Elijah) more for Elisha if he kept his eyes fixed on his master as he ascended. Contrast that with the instruction of Jesus to keep our eyes trained on Him so that we continue to hold in front of us what’s important.
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3, emphasis mine)
Yes, God is love. And yes, He loves you and He wants to meet your needs and introduce you to Jesus and see you in Heaven for eternity. But He’s also holy. There are statements you come across in His Word that are stark, they’re black and white. He gives us these, what are essentially ultimatums, to show us that He’s serious. When Jesus says if we’re not going to remain salty, that we’ll be cast out, it’s best to heed. Think about the barrenness in this world and the world around you. You. You can be the solution to that. Don’t be afraid to be salty.