Key Verse: “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. Matthew 5:13
Sodium chloride, commonly known as salt, is as its name suggests made up from two chemical compounds sodium and chlorine. Sodium is a metal which bursts into flame on contact with water. Chlorine is a gas which if breathed in will promptly destroy your lungs. However, when combined, they become salt; a trace mineral found in every cell of the human body. Salt is essential for life to exist, not only in humans but animals, and many plants.
Today we sometimes refer to common salt, but throughout history, it has been everything but common. Roman soldiers were paid in salt, a “salarium argentum,” from which we get the English word “salary.” and the search for salt has caused many wars.
There are about around fourteen thousand recorded uses for salt in the world today. Salt is one of the most useful and widely used food preservatives. It was most like this use that Jesus was referring to when He told his followers “You are the salt of the earth.” Jesus calls us to be salt to those who are perishing without Christ. He calls us to enhance everything we come in contact with and be life-preserving influence by proclaiming the gospel and eternal life in Christ.
We must be careful however not to ignore Jesus warning not to lose our saltiness. Moisture ruined salt during Jesus’ time, was commonly mixed with gypsum, and used to seal roofs by trampling it in. Interestingly, the word gypsum means “bitter.” Another use for spoilt salt was absorbing moisture. The Romans trampled it into roads to harden them. Perhaps Jesus was warning us to guard our hearts against becoming bitter or hardened and reminding us our calling is far higher than to simply to be trampled upon.