Salt of the Earth (02-02-23)
Bible Readings Jesus said: “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.” (Matthew 5. 13)
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4. 2 – 6)
A Thought Those of us of a certain age will remember Smith’s potato crisps with their separate blue twist of salt. One of the simple pleasures of childhood was undoing the little blue pack of salt, tipping it into the crisps and giving the bag a good shake. And of course, a little salt made all the difference to the taste of the crisps. Nowadays we get ‘ready salted’ crisps.
More recently we have discovered the delights of salted caramel chocolate. Here again, a little salt adds that little extra something to the caramel.
Jesus was always taking everyday items and using them as examples for the way we should live our Christian lives. Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt, which is the origin of our word ‘salary’. The aristocratic and powerful were known as ‘above the salt’ and valued workers were ‘worth their salt’. People who are described as 'the salt of the earth' are those who are considered to be of good character, helpful, trustworthy and reliable.
Salt flavours. It makes food taste better, either by adding flavour to something that would otherwise be bland (chips or crisps), by enhancing the flavours that are already there (vegetables) or by providing a contrast with a very different sort of taste (salted caramel).
This is a powerful illustration of the way in which we should serve the world. We’re intended to spread throughout the world and enhance it, adding flavour to the things that would be bland, drawing out the blessings from whatever is good, and providing a contrast by being distinct and different in our way of living. Paul tells us to ensure that our speech is ‘seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person’. We don’t have to bombard people with our Christian beliefs. We don’t have to preach a long sermon. We don’t even have to speak with great eloquence or insight. Too much salt tastes vile! All that is required is a little testimony to the love and saving power of Jesus, shared naturally here and there with the people that we meet. This is part of our calling as disciples of Jesus.
A Prayer (from a song by Chris Bowater)
Here I am, wholly available. As for me, I will serve the Lord. As salt are we ready to savour? In darkness are we ready to be light? God is seeking out a very special people to manifest his truth and his might. Here I am, wholly available. As for me, I will serve the Lord. Amen.
Here I am wholly available, Chris Bowater,