Salt of the Earth

Published on 28 March 2024 at 17:06

Anyone else have picky eaters in their house? My oldest has been a continual challenge. When he was around five, there were only about five things he would eat. Anything else would make him gag or we would have to fight over, and it just wasn’t worth it to me. I figured we could be patient in introducing new things little by little.

That has worked... some. He eats more than five things now, but he’s still very picky about his food. For example, his food cannot touch in any shape or form. There can’t be any kind of sauce or juice or gravy. He doesn’t like food mixed together, so no pasta dishes or casseroles or even tacos - everything has to be separated and in its own place. 

Vegetables have been particularly difficult. Fruit he loves, but veggies? Nope. Until we discovered a little trick.

The key to our trick?


Carrots? No, disgusting! Carrots with salt? Oh, yeah! Cooked broccoli? No, gross! Cooked broccoli with salt? Cool! Avocado? Ewww! Avocado with salt? Yummy!

It amuses me to no end. We have even gotten him to eat boiled eggs this way. Such a small thing makes a big difference.

What is it about salt that makes things taste better? What is it about salt that makes something otherwise undesirable now appealing? Who among us would eat potato chips if they weren’t covered in salt? Or French fries? Or popcorn? These beloved treats just aren’t the same without a whole bunch of salt.

Salt is a mineral and a naturally formed compound. There is tons more salt in the world than we need for human consumption. That's why it's so cheap to buy in the grocery store. 
Salt is essential for human health. In any given time, we have about 250 grams of sodium running through the fluids of our bodies.

It is one of the oldest food seasonings in the world. When added to the food we eat, it can bring out the flavor. It also helps as a preservative, to keep food from spoiling so quickly. 

They had salt back in Jesus' day, too. It was used much as we use it now, though it was more expensive back then. Sometimes Roman soldiers would be paid in salt. Which makes sense, if you know these famous words of Jesus: “You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13a). 

Interesting. We are the salt of the earth? Not God? Not the gospel? No. We are.

What does it mean to be the salt of the Earth?

The gospel to unbelievers can sometimes seem rather... unpalatable. The idea that we are sinners and held accountable to God. The idea that we are in need of a savior when so many of us pride ourselves on being self-sufficient. The idea that one day we will have to give account for everything we’ve done before our Creator.  The idea that those who reject God and live for themselves, have chosen hell. These may be hard pills to swallow.

Perhaps we are the salt of the Earth because it is our job to make the gospel more tasty. Not by watering it down or covering over the bad parts or changing the message. But by showering it in love, mercy, and compassion. By showing and living the positive difference it can make in one’s life and in the world.

I fear many times our message, instead of making the gospel more desirable, has made it less so. Instead of flavoring the gospel with our love, we poison it with politics and nationalism and white supremacy, with hate and commercialism and privilege. We add a whole lot that doesn't belong in there, making the gospel truth seem more like a lie.

It’s no wonder others are not convinced by or interested in our message. I wouldn’t want to stomach something sprinkled in cyanide, either.

How many of us know the second part of verse 13, where Jesus says, "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."

What causes salt to lose its saltiness? Impurities. When other things get mixed in with the salt, it no longer has its flavor. It no longer serves as a preservative. It's worthless.

When our message is polluted by the things of this world, it loses its saltiness. It loses its truth. It's worthless. It's unpalatable. Worthy only to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

The salt of the gospel should be about giving life: a better life here now, as well as life-everlasting. The gospel should be about love. Love is not lip-service and a few dollars thrown in an offering plate. Love is caring about someone's well-being and promoting good in their life. Love is caring about those who are suffering in unjust systems. As Cornell West has said, "Justice is what love looks like in public." The gospel should look and sound like Jesus.

We have so much to do to reclaim our message. I believe the Evangelical Church in America - those who truly believe in following Jesus Christ, needs to come together and make a very coherent and very public statement against Christian nationalism, fascism, white supremacy, and all the other things that have been associated with us because of our intermixing with conversative politics. We need to be clear to all the world - this is not who we are. This is not who Jesus is. We need to repent and turn back to the way of Jesus.

But also, I think each and every person who claims to follow Jesus, needs to actually do just that and follow Jesus! Follow the way He loved and the way He cared for people. Follow His words to bring His kingdom come on Earth through meeting needs and establishing a more just society.

If each of us were to do that, we would be the salt within our own circles. And, eventually, that salt would spread. The ripples of influence would grow.

Until we truly were the salt of the Earth.

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