Thursday, February 17, 2011

Losing its saltiness

Last Sunday's sermon was on the text of Matthew 5:13 "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 by men."

I've heard quite a few sermons on this text, and they all have a combination of the same points:

1. Salt is used to preserve things. Christians preserve the good in the world.
2. The English word salary comes from the Latin for salt. It was so important in Jesus time that people were paid in it. Christians are that important in the world.
3. Salt improves the taste of things. Christians improve the tastes of society.
4. In Jesus time, salt was not purified, so it was filled with other minerals and could lose its saltiness by the way they cooked with it. Christians are similarly not pure, so we need to guard against losing our saltiness.

Now all of those are good points, but I think they do a disservice to both salt and the text. If you not only had a low-salt diet, but a no-salt diet, what would happen? What if you leached the salt out of all your foods and drinks before you consumed them? You would be dead in a matter of days. Once it had depleted its stores, your body could no longer control the water content in its cells and they would burst or shrivel and die.

That's how important Christianity is for the world. Without it, once the remnants of Christianity were gone, the world would die. I don't care what the Latin for salt was. Tell me the true importance of being the salt of the world.

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