I spent a large portion of yesterday pondering salt. That’s right. . .salt. Ever since Monday’s news report on the ridiculously high amount of salt in the food of many chain restaurants, I’ve been thinking it through.
Salt is one of those minerals that is absolutely essential for animal life, including humans. As a primary electrolyte, salt is responsible for helping regulate the body’s fluid balance. Of course, the problem with salt is that too much or too little of it causes us problems.
The report I heard yesterday stated that salt is a first-choice seasoning item for food because it is so cheap. That’s the part that made me really stop and think.
Jesus compared his followers to 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 by men.” (Matthew 5:13, NIV)
Regardless how much salt costs, it is clear to me that Jesus does not think of us as cheap. In fact, He considers us extremely valuable. As disciples of Christ, we are every bit as important for advancing God’s Kingdom on this earth as salt is for achieving optimal balance in the human body.
I’ve been thinking about how we as believers could lose our saltiness — that special quality that both sets us apart as well as allows us to enhance the world in which we live. And I’ve come up with a few ideas. We can lose our saltiness when:
- We fail to spend regular time in Bible study and prayer. Communication with the Father is essential. He is the very source of our saltiness. We must be intentional about spending quality time with Him.
- We fail to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in the way we live our lives: the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control that comes from a growing relationship with Christ. I would argue that those traits are the very indicators of our saltiness.
- We fail to share the Good News with those around us. I think we should not do this indiscriminately. Such sharing can be a real turn-off. Think of it this way: As with a meal, we do well to taste the food before we add salt to it. Evangelism is best accomplished through building personal relationships with others. As we get to know them, we understand how best to share Christ in ways that are meaningful and relevant.
- We adopt a legalistic approach to Scripture. This is paramount to actually taking the time to count out the grains of salt before we apply it to the food. God’s Word serves as a guide for our lives, and there are plenty of do’s and don’t’s within the context of Scripture. Fortunately for us, there is also a generous measure of grace extended to us. We should be imitators of God by extending grace to others as well.
- We try to add to the salt. Sometimes I think we get carried away just a bit. Salt is probably the simplest of all the seasonings. And in right amounts, it accomplishes its purpose. God has given us everything we need to reach people for His Kingdom. We don’t have to rely on outside sources to seal the deal. So, forget the allspice. . .forget the cayenne pepper. . . forget the garlic powder. Salt is just fine.
The next time you take a bite and taste the salt, ask yourself how salty you are as a Christian. The good news for us is that even when we fail and begin to lose our saltiness, we can go to the Father who gives generously to all who ask — and He will restore us and send us out again to accomplish His purposes. Jesus said:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16, NIV)
We’re not cheap. We’re chosen. And that makes all the difference in the world.