Salt of the Earth

Peppermint Patty was talking to Charlie Brown. She said, “Guess what, Chuck. The first day of school, and I got sent to the principal’s office. It was your fault, Chuck.”
He said, “My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?”
Peppermint Patty said, “You’re my friend, aren’t you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me.”
Now, Peppermint Patty was trying to make her problem Charlie Brown’s fault but she was, in a very real way, right.
We should be a good influence on our friends.
Whether we want admit it or not, we all influence those around us. Some are good influences while others are not so good.
In Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus allows us to come to an understanding of salt of the earth, based on how they are used in the world around us. 13 “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.
Sodium chloride–what is it? An ionic compound made of sodium and chloride ions commonly called salt. It’s something every person on the planet knows.
Salt was a necessity of life in ancient times and great value was placed in it. Salt was incredibly valuable. Salt’s profound impact on human civilization spans recorded history, and in fact, precedes it. It has certainly been a part of human existence from our very beginning. Neolithic settlements were formed around salt springs. Salt was essential when mastodons roamed the Earth. But this valuable item wasn’t always easy to get.
During the early days of the Roman Empire, salt was used as a form of payment. Etymologists believe that the word salary came into use during the Roman Empire when soldiers were regularly paid with a handful of salt. In fact, this precious commodity was part of the reason the Romans built their roads. As the empire grew, so did the need to transport salt back to Rome to support its growing population. A good example is the Via Salaria, which was used to move salt from the mouth of the Tiber at Ostia to Rome itself.
Solnitsata, in Bulgaria, is thought by many to have been the first city in Europe. It was originally a salt mine that provided the area now known as the Balkans with salt for many centuries starting at 5400 BC. Even the name, Solnitsata, means “salt works.” All across the Balkans, salt was a crucial commodity and trading was vigorous. In ancient Greece much of this trade involved an exchange of salt for slaves, and here we find the expression for a lazy individual as being someone “not worth his salt.”
We don’t think much about salt, these days, because we can get as much of it in pure form as we want. It is just that little bottle with holes in the top on the table. But when you are completely dependent on salt to preserve your food, and when it is so valuable that it is used in the place of money, you get a completely different perspective on salt.
Salt was important for survival, because it was the only way they had to preserve meat. They were not as privileged as we are today. When we go to the grocery store, we can pick up a couple of juicy steaks and when we get them home we throw them in the refrigerator or freezer.
But in Jesus day, salt was the only thing that gave them their ability to preserve their food. Salt was used to slow or stop the process of decay, much like when we freeze food today.
Just like salt, Christians are given the task of slowing or stopping the decay of our world. Christianity has had a profound positive effect on the world. The most dramatic effect is how the world values human life. Before Christianity came to the world things like infanticide, and child abandonment was a common practice.
The Red Cross was started by an evangelical Christian. Almost every one of the first 123 colleges and universities in the United States has Christian origins, founded by Christians for Christian purposes.
The same could be said of orphanages, adoption agencies, humane treatment of the insane, the list goes on and on of dramatic impact of Christianity in our world. Christians keep the corruption of society at bay by opposing moral decay.
If we as Christian’s lose the qualities of Christlikeness that make us distinct and become like the society around us, we no longer have a positive impact.
No matter where we, as Christians, find ourselves, whether it’s social or work related, the unbelievers around us should see evidence of the difference that Jesus Christ makes in our lives.
Jesus says that if the salt loses its flavor, it is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. I couldn’t understand how salt could lose its saltiness so I checked it out.
Technically speaking, salt, as we know it, cannot lose its saltiness. Sodium chloride is a stable compound. But in the part of the world where Jesus lived, salt was collected from around the Dead Sea where the crystals were often contaminated with other minerals. These crystalized formations were full of impurities, and since the actual salt was more soluble than the impurities, the rain could wash out the salt, which made what was left of little value since it lost its saltiness. When this happened, the salt was thrown out. When the salt was leached out it still looked like salt, but it lost its taste.
That can happen to us. When the Christian allows the constant flow of the worlds’ values to flow through them, the necessary difference will be leached out of that Christian’s life.
The Christian is to be a preserving force in the world wherever God has placed them. But salt will never be any good when it is left sitting on the counter. To be effective, salt had to be rubbed into the meat. Salt must be poured out to be useful. If we are to make a difference, we must allow God to use us wherever he puts us.
Jesus says you are the salt of the earth. Maybe you feel like you might be the wrong brand of salt. Some believe that if that little girl isn’t on the box the salt isn’t good enough.
To be salt, we just have to impact our little corner of the world where the Lord has placed us.  Let us be the Salt of the Earth that He has called us to be today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives.


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