Food played a major role in the French Revolution. Two of the most essential elements of French cuisine, bread and salt, were at the heart of the conflict; bread, in particular, was tied up with the national identity. Bread was considered a public service necessary to keep the people from rioting. Bakers, therefore, were public servants, so the police controlled all aspects of bread production, of course the causes of the revolution were far more complicated than the price of bread or unfair taxes on salt but both contributed to the rising anger toward the monarchy. According to Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People, by Linda Civitello.
Salt therefore has been necessary and important commodity from way back.
13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.- Bible the Message.
CHRISTIANS’ STATE OF BEING
Matthew 5 in the Bible is quite a well-known chapter. Probably because it has the beatitudes and also because ‘salt of the earth’ is a term used quite often by Christians. Am currently going through the New Testament of the Bible and am past the book of Matthew but this phrase caught my eye. I dint quite give it much thought until a friend in a bible study amidst jokes casually asked what it means to be the salt of the earth. Jesus was a great user of analogies and parables and we or rather I don’t really take time to understand what He was trying to point out, unless the parable or analogy is explained in the next verse. It’s a habit am particularly keen on cultivating as I go through the New testament this year.
Jesus was on the mountain just after He had talked about the beatitudes when he said “You are the salt of the earth.” Notice how the statement is an indicative rather than an imperative one. Jesus does not say ‘you should be salt’, ‘you must be salt’, ‘be salt!’ or ‘It would be nice for you to be salt.’ No, if you are the ‘blessed’ ones mentioned in verses 3-10, my disciples, then by that very definition you are the salt of the earth. As Christians this means that;
1. We are not trying to be salt of the Earth neither are we working towards it. God has actually given us the power, it is in us, to be the salt of the earth. It is not something we will struggle with because we have been called to it. It is a state of being.
2. We cannot excuse ourselves from being who we by definition are. We cannot say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ We cannot say that we don’t mind to be a follower of Jesus but that we refuse to be salt. If you are a follower of Jesus, then salt is what you are.
The big question however is what does it mean to be the salt of the earth?
BASICS ON SALT
When I sat down to Google the uses of salt, it almost felt like a bad idea. Primarily because there are around 14 000 uses of salt. To include but not limited to fields in medicine, food, processing, and beauty spas. This in reality means that salt is a commodity that is widely available and widely needed. Amidst all the uses and characteristics three mainly stood alive for me, they were practical and relatable.
1. First off, salt is precious; widely required and expended. Jesus called his disciples the salt of the Earth in a time when salt was a scarce and rare commodity. It was precious and had a great value. Greek aristocrats bought slaves with salt. If the slaves did not meet his expectations,’ he was not worth his salt’, hence the expression’ not worth the salt’. As followers of Christ we are extremely precious in the world and in God’s eyes. We have been called in our different domains for a purpose and a good plan. You are not a teacher, doctor, lawyer, linguist, designer or journalist by coincidence. Christ dint just die on the cross, a painful death at that so we may be forever loved and forgiven and given a helper the Holy Spirit just so we can be. After we became saved, He wanted us to be an influencing power in the world. He didn’t say that we’re the salt of our churches, our Sunday school classes, or our fellowship; but rather, He said, ‘You are the salt of the earth.’ It’s important for every Christian to be a part of a church. This is essential, but this is not all that God wants us to do. Nowadays, as long as people go to church on Sunday, pay their tithes, do this and don’t do that, they think they’re doing their job. However, God has a job for every one of us to do, preacher and doctor. Lawyer and scientist. Gym instructor and model. The church is where we’re nurtured, challenged, taught, encouraged and corrected when we need correction. We grow spiritually and find fellowship in the church. Nevertheless, our vision must be greater than just going to church. The church should be our home base, not our retirement village. God has a plan for each of us and collectively as believers and we best ask and seek Him for it. We better be worth our salt for Jesus’ sake.
2. Salt thaws. It is used to de-ice pavement walks in countries that experience winters. The layer of ice on the sidewalk on a cold December morning is much like an ice-bound heart: hard as a rock from the impact of bitter experiences. There are so many people who are hurting in our societies, breaking apart and in need of hope. The world is full of bitter people because of problems and circumstances that have happened in their lives. With just the right amount of salt placed on their hearts, the hard surface can melt away. We have been called to be that kind of salt, aware of the problems the society is going through and being the very solutions to these problems. It is not so much about how many people you encourage as much as it is about encouraging those people God has specifically moulded you to encourage. In your school, work place, neighbourhood, family and church. It’s time we began asking ourselves what Mordecai asked Esther, ‘who knows whether you have not come to this kingdom for such a time as this’. It is time we began thinking about other people around us. Be a source of encouragement to the people around you first before you even think of going elsewhere. Most important, we ought to learn to be sensitive to the Spirits guidance. You never know whose frozen heart you may be led to thaw.(ephesians 4:23)
3. Salt was used in the ancient world as an agent in the preservation of food, especially meat. It was a preservative as such it prevented food from decay. How does salt do that? When you put salt in your food. If you look at it, the salt disappears. It dissolves into the food. Salt functions by dissolving, by losing itself, by dying. It falls into the food and it dies. It dissolves. And there, it brings forth its effectiveness. That is how it can preserve. That is how it can give flavour. If salt doesn’t dissolve, it cannot do any of these things. Salt works by dissolving, by losing itself. Light functions in exactly the same way, by giving itself away. If you observe a candle, it gets shorter and shorter. If the candle is to give light to the room, it cannot remain at the same length. It has to burn itself out in order to give light. It literally burns itself to death, until it disappears completely. Before we can ever minister help to a broken world, we must be broken. C.S. Lewis says, ‘Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out-as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has.’- Mere Christianity.( philipians 1:20-22, john 3:30)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek- NKJV
Part of being the salt of the Earth means sharing the gospel. Spreading the ‘taste’ of the gospel to others and to preserve the souls of men through the hope of the cross. Am not scared to be different and am not ashamed of the gospel. My challenge; be salty. Be what you already are! God loves you.