Thursday, March 03, 2011

please pass the salt

"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. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 
Matthew 5:13-16 NIV

Jesus says, “You Are The Salt of the Earth”… Just exactly what did Jesus mean? 

Salt – or sodium chloride is most commonly used to enhance our food – to make the bland spicier or to make bad-tasting food more palatable. And as we witnessed this week, another use for sodium in some parts of the country is to spread it on the highways during ice storms. 

In Biblical times, salt was rare, difficult to obtain and considered a very precious commodity. And Jesus called his people; “The Salt of the Earth” because He knew the people could easily understand the analogy. Jesus wanted them to know that He expected something extraordinary from them for the sake of God. He placed a high value on them – and what He required of them – just as the first-century culture placed a very high value on salt. 

Today, Christian faith can provide spiritual “seasoning” to a “bland life” by giving joy and meaning to life with Christian commitment and understanding of God’s love for His children.

Because being the salt of the Earth means “flavoring” life with a zestful spirit of love and faith in God. It means pursuing meaning in all we do and in all we encounter. It means acting in love with all whom we touch.
In Jesus’ day, salt was often connected with purity. The Romans believed that salt was the purest of all things, because it came from pure things: the sun and the sea. It was used by the Jews to purify their offerings to God. We modern Christians are to be the salt of the earth. We must accept a pure and high standard in speech, thought and behavior.

In ancient times, salt was also valued as a basic ingredient of a healthy life. As the salt of the earth, we can serve as a basic nutrient for others by caring, helping, teaching and bringing them to Christ.

Salt was also used to aid healing in the first century. As the salt of the earth, we can promote healing through prayer, caring for others, supporting the least, lost and lonely and by holding hands with one another and administering the holy oil of anointing.

Just as salt is used to thaw the ice on the roads, as the salt of the earth, we can help melt the iciness of life. Applying the warmth of Christian love can melt frozen relationships. We can take that love and melt away the indifference or lack of feelings that often overtakes human beings.
And salt has, for centuries, served as a preservative to prevent food from spoiling. Then we, as the salt of the earth, must become preservatives of God’s goodness. We can prevent spoiling and corruption wherever we find it and preserve the Christian principles that keep others and us from going bad.

All of these examples of the use of salt - and how we can be the salt of the earth, can only be effective if the salt – in both cases – is released. One from the saltshaker. And the other from God’s love. God’s love releases us from whatever entraps us so we can truly salt the people of the earth.

The power of God supports and sustains us to become the salt of the earth. 

To make a difference in the world; giving hope where there is no hope; forgiving where there is sin; embracing where there is loneliness and despair; tolerating where there is prejudice; reconciling where there is conflict; bringing justice where there is wrong; providing food where there is hunger; and giving comfort where there is distress or disease.

And when we fail in this effort, God will raise us up, renew us and give us strength to persevere – again and again.
Therefore, we “salty” Christians need not go on a salt-free diet. Let us rather truly become the salt of the earth. Let us reach out to our communities in a world in desperate need of what Christian seasoning can provide. Because, you are the salt of the earth.

written by Peggy Stanley

{today's post is linked up withCherie at Heart and Soul Reflections. we are sharing about inspiring women. i am blessed to be surrounded by strong women of faith, amazing unconditional friends, and a circle of incredible mentors. but the one woman that has made the most impact on my life, the one that continues to inspire me day after day, year after year, decade after decade, is my Mom. i thank God for her and for all the works He's done and continues to do in her. this post was written by her, a message she shared with the congregation at Christ Episcopal Church in Matagorda, Texas in February. but more than that, it's a truth she believes in, a lifestyle she lives, and a light she shines. inspiring, yes?}