"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?" Matthew 5:13
I have become a salt snob. I am no longer satisfied with mere table salt. Several years ago I was introduced to different kinds of salt: Himalayan pink, Himalayan black, Fleur de Sel, Sea salt, Kosher, and Celtic to name a few. While all salt is made up of two elements, sodium and chlorine, by doing a little research, I have come to learn that impurities, including trace minerals can shape the color, taste, and texture of salt. But regardless of these differences, essentially all salt is still salt. It can be used for various purposes, but the most common are to act as a preservative (bacteria have trouble growing in salt-rich environments) and as a flavoring to foods. For me, foods such as french fries and popcorn are merely vehicles for salt. I love it! Friday was National Popcorn Day (I am sure it was created by some salt-crazed nut like me), and I celebrated by sprinkling extra on my daily snack.
Over the years I have read commentaries and heard sermons on the reasons that Jesus made the analogy between His disciples and salt. If salt is a preservative, shouldn’t we as disciples act as a preservative in a morally decaying society by speaking God’s truth in love? If salt is a flavoring, shouldn’t we as disciples enhance our world by offering kindness, patience, love, forgiveness and mercy? We can and should impact our surroundings.
Interestingly, salt is not intended to be consumed alone. As much as I love salt, I don’t eat it by the spoonful. Neither are we intended to live alone or in a bubble. We were created to bring Glory to God by being dispersed throughout the world. And just as salt can be of different colors, sizes and flavor, we as disciples of Christ are a diverse set, and we will flavor our communities in different ways.
But what did Jesus mean that just as salt, we can lose our flavor? Isn’t salt always salt? Isn’t a disciple always a disciple? After a little research I discovered that while salt is always a compound of sodium and chlorine, if it comes into contact with different impurities in the ground it can lose its flavor. Flavorless salt has actually been found in areas near the Dead Sea. I suspect Jesus’ listeners were aware of this reality. Such diluted salt is useless for flavoring. Can’t we too become diluted by the world and its values? How can I remain a salty Christian?