Salt has two uses in the kitchen:
- It enhances (brings out the flavor);
- It preserves (keeps from rotting).
Jesus tells his followers that they are like salt: they are to make society better, and they are to keep society from going bad.
What about if the Church loses its saltiness, what if it loses what makes it distinct? Jesus says that then
“It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”Matthew 5:13b
We can all cite multiple examples over these last 2,000 years when the Church abandoned what made it distinct and went along with the wider culture–it’s always disaster and ruin, both for the Church and the world. (Think of slavery in the New World, e.g.)
So, it is crucial that we stay salty and thereby have something to offer the world. But how? Here’s one quick thought.
The Sermon on the Mount is a seamless garment, all woven together, and so I think part of the way that the Church keeps its saltiness is to pay attention to what Jesus says later on in today’s passage:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”Matthew 5:17
In other words, the message of Jesus is connected to the Scriptures. I think one of the ways we can ensure our saltiness is by doing exactly what we’re doing: reading and poring over the Scriptures.
May God use his Word to make you salty today.