Jesus said that we are the “salt of the earth”. But what does that mean?
After spending 22 years in the food industry I believe I have the answer. Today, in this culture when we hear the word “salt” we think of a flavor enhancer. But in Jesus day, salt had a much greater purpose!
Salt was the primary agent used for preservation. Salt was used to preserve food from going “corrupt”, or rotten. Even today salt is used in the food industry as a preservative.Tons of salt is used every day for the purpose of preservation.
So then, when Jesus mentioned “salt”, everyone understood that Jesus was talking about a preservative. They didn’t have the chemical preservatives that we have today. Salt was primarily used as a preservative.
But how does that apply to us today?
Jesus knew the ways of sinful man. Jesus knew the history of man, and how quickly man becomes corrupt. Lets take a minute to think about it. It didn’t take long for Adam and Eve to sin. The fact that not much is said about their “pre-sin” life is an indication that it was short.
After the flood of Noah it didn’t take long for things to become corrupt. Just look at Sodom and Gomorrah!
I marvel at how things can become so corrupt so fast. Take a modern day example: a computer supposed to run perfectly, right? But I am amazed at how fast a computer system can become corrupt. If you use a computer long enough without restarting it, it will become corrupt! It gets sssssllllooowww, and things go wrong. File become corrupt! In fact, it is recommended to reinstall the entire operating system every so often, just to keep things up to “snuff”.
In the same way, society becomes corrupt. Laws, and governments become corrupt. And the world as a whole is becoming more and more corrupt. Anyone with two cents worth of brain power, who is honest with themselves, and with others, has to admit that things are not getting better. We are not “evolving” into something better than what we had in the past. In fact we are becoming more and more corrupt. And the time is coming when God will reach down and press the “restart” button. In fact, He needs to reinstall the entire operating system! And indeed He will.
In the meantime His church supposed to be the “salt of the earth”. No, Jesus didn’t mean that we will make the world taste better! Not at all. Jesus was saying that we are to be proactive in preserving the religious and moral standards of the past. When governments allow the slaughter of the innocent unborn, we have corruption (rottenness). When governments allow the sexual immorality of adultery, fornication, and homosexuality we have corruption = rottenness.
As the salt of the earth we are to “preserve” the old, not change it! We are called to respect those who went on before us, not spit of their graves by saying that their morals and laws were “uncivilized” – somehow implying that we “know better”. It is a disgrace to them. We have not honored them, but disrespected them.
So then, be the “salt” and preserve what we have left for our sake, in the name of Jesus.