Lent – Day 35 – Jesus Questions

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again?” (Matthew 5:13)

Yesterday (Palm Sunday) we started Holy Week — the last week of Lent, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, and perhaps the most sacred week on the Christian calendar.

Salt CrystalMy brother-in-law farms salt. Up in Karratha, Western Australia, he manages a salt operation for Rio Tinto and each year they collect over 100 million ton of salt by letting sea-water evaporate in enormous ponds (a 45-minute drive from one end to the other). When the crystallized salt reaches a depth of 15-18 inches, they bring in heavy equipment and scoop it up.

Salt may be one of the most pervasive elements on earth. If the oceans dried, I can’t imagine how deep the salt would be across vast reaches of the planet. And, as you know, salt serves various helpful and important purposes for us.

We use salt to flavor food. In some places people rub salt into meat to preserve it. I’ve even used salt to get leeches off me; a method far more preferable to fire!

So, when Jesus says “You are the salt of the earth” it evokes all kinds of possibilities. Flavor, preservation, and protection all spring to mind — all honorable uses and purposes — but His follow-up question turns the tables.

“But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again?”

Christianity has an extraordinary history of shaping humanity (flavor, preservation, and protection) by building hospitals, schools, social services, social justice organizations, and the sciences. No other religious system in human history has done, or is doing, as much for the weak, the vulnerable, or marginalized. Period.

But it’s not enough to point to human history, and sit back with some satisfaction. While history as a whole affirms the extraordinary power of the Christian faith to build communities and produce prosperous societies, the “salt” of which Jesus spoke was more than collective achievements. It comes down to a very personal level.

In what way is my particular life serving as salt, specifically in my family, my community, and my workplace? Is my life touching the lives of others in such a way as to make a difference?

One hundred million ton of salt is a lot of salt! But it doesn’t take that much salt to get the job done. Each single salt crystal has the same chemical makeup, and our tongues can identify it easily.

“What good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again?”

We might ask ourselves: “What flavor will people identify today after being around us?”

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8 Responses to Lent – Day 35 – Jesus Questions

  1. Dick and Doris says:

    YOUR WRITING AND INSIGHTS REGULARLY TOUCH MY HEART… I’m glad we are connected to the very same resource… Dick and Doris (in Show Low) Thank you.

  2. Lynn Thaler says:

    Great post, you got me thinking about how my life should be and how I need to make sure people can determine I am salt and that I am still benefiting society.

  3. E Tse says:

    Spot on, David! A thought occurred to me just now that I’ve never looked into how salt loses its flavor or how it can or can not be restored. Do you have any insight on that? I’ll research it and see.  Blessings to you and Kim this Passion Week!–Eleanor 🙂

  4. Barry Thygesen says:

    Hi David. Here is a personal thought. I have bad psoriasis and I have been having “salt Therapy”. I also spray pharmaceutical Hymalayan salt on my skin. Guess what, My psoriasis is slowly healing. That is a great application too. Do I bring healing or hurt? Blessings my friend

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