On our way through the Sermon on the Mount recently we ran across one of Jesus’ most familiar statements: “You are the salt of the earth.” No doubt many of us have heard or used that phrase, and we all have ideas about what it means. But do we truly live out what Jesus is saying? What does that look like when it’s played out real time?
Among the other things, salt is a taste enhancer. It magnifies, or brings out, the best of whatever it’s applied to, at least when it’s used correctly. If you use too much, it calls attention to itself, and nobody likes it. Who wants their food too salty? Likewise, when as believers we slam people over the head with our faith, we really don’t enhance their lives; instead, we assault them. That’s not what Jesus is talking about!
When you think this through, using different language, Jesus is telling us to be a blessing to others, to bring a blessing to others, to bless as we’ve been blessed. At least when it has to do with people, when “bless” is used in the Bible, it means to give life, add to, encourage, build up, or enhance. So when we do things that build up others, that encourage them in their lives, we bless them. We “salt” their lives with Jesus, as it were.
Just yesterday I had a great opportunity to do this. I was having lunch with someone I’d never met before, and we were going to talk about “second half ministry,” the kind of thing I’m doing in nxtSTP. We had a great time together, and as we talked it came out that even though he’s only in his mid-fifties, he’s actually afraid of growing older. So we explored that for awhile. Why be afraid? Indeed, God has saved some of his very best for the second half of life! As we chatted, I was able to encourage him. By the time we parted company, he had a whole new view of where he was, and where he was headed. In other words, his life had been enhanced. He’d been blessed. That’s what being the “salt of the earth” is all about – bringing God’s abundant life in Jesus into the lives of others, adding His joy, peace, and confidence to those who do not have them.
Just think: yet this week, you have the opportunity to be salt in a flavorless world, to bring life where otherwise there is a slow death. All you need to do is to follow the Lord in your conversations and sprinkle them with all the life He has given you!