THE SALT OF THE EARTH


“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be salted? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

In ancient Israel, salt was the symbol of a covenant of friendship (cf. Num 18:19 and 2 Chron 13:5), more specifically, a friendship with God. Related to this symbolism is the Slavic custom of greeting a guest with bread and salt. Thus the Lord says in Mk 9:50: “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” It symbolizes good will, and all that good will entails (love, compassion, humility, patience) that sustains a friendship. Salt was very precious in the ancient world, just as true friendship is precious (and rare). Salt also enhances the flavor in various foods, just as friendship brings out the best in us.

As followers of Christ, we ourselves are called to be living and walking symbols of God’s good will and goodness toward mankind; we are called to be “the salt of the earth.” But if we slip away from God’s goodness, letting envy, arrogance, resentments, and self-centered fears stifle the “flavor” of His grace in our hearts, then we become “good for nothing.” Because it is impossible to make a difference, to change the “flavor” of our world, without the “salt” of His grace. So let me open up to Him this morning, on the third day of Pentecost, in a bit of heartfelt prayer, that I may be humbly useful, and not arrogantly useless, to my world. “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.”

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