As a writer and just a thinker, I kind of like metaphors. So when I see a metaphor in Scripture, sometimes I like to take some time to really think about how it is used. Last night in my Bible Study, we spent some time discussing how Jesus calls us salt: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matt. 5:13). James Montgomery Boice goes into the different uses of salt in his commentary on The Sermon on the Mount:
- Salt was the most common of all preservatives: it was able to resist spoilage and keep putrefaction at bay.
- It is a source of flavor: The Christian, through the life of Jesus Christ within and the verities of the gospel, is to lend flavor to a flavorless, insipid world.
- Salt makes one thirsty: Do you make anyone thirsty for Jesus Christ?…Your responsibility is not to satisfy the thirst yourself, but to point men to Jesus Christ.
- A common substance: Salt is one of the most common things of life…It is from the common things—from the weak, the foolish, the despised, the things that are not (1 Cor. 1:26-29)—that God brings the greatest glory to his name. (63-66)
Good stuff, right? There’s a lot to meditate on there about what Jesus is alluding to when he says we are the salt of the earth. But sometimes I get a little carried away with metaphors. So I added a few more. Mine aren’t as sophisticated:
- If a body doesn’t release salt through perspiration, it retains water and becomes bloated.
- You can’t flavor a dish with just one grain of salt
- Melts ice, protects us from slipping
- Raises the boiling temperature
- Pregnant women need more salt
- Salt kills the slugs
Maybe you can see where I was going with some of my own additions. We are sent out with a benediction every Sunday, and we exercise our faith throughout our everyday lives. This takes some grit. If we behave different from our identity in Christ, our profession is a bunch of hot air. And one grain of salt just doesn’t cut it. God hasn’t sent us out alone, but has given us the church. We are to encourage and exhort one another, which in turn helps keep us from backsliding. We don’t escape persecution, but through it we become stronger in the faith.
Yes, I am getting all this from the properties of salt. But why am I bringing up slugs? Well, in high school a couple of my girlfriends and I had a code for when a guy was maybe hitting on us or being annoying. We referred to these guys as slugs. And my friend Liz was horrified by slugs. We of course used this knowledge of Liz to torture her on many occasions (rainy days brought all kinds of entertainment). Anyway, we would somehow think of a way to ask for a salt shaker. That meant, “This guy is a slug, and I either want to get out of here, make fun of him without him knowing, or need help getting away from this conversation.” You can go ahead and draw your own conclusions of how this analogy applies to Christians being the salt when there are slugs lurking…
*Originally published on August 26, 2014.