It’s funny how language changes over time. Words and phrases come to mean very different things as cultures change and progress. When I was a kid, “bad” meant “good” and “sweet” had nothing to do with flavor. A new phrase that my kids drop is, “you feeling salty?” They use it when a friend is whining or complaining about something.
It didn’t always mean that.
Back in Jesus’ day salt was important for a couple of reasons. First, it was helpful to store food. The other thing it was useful for was flavoring (funny how some things don’t change after 2,000 or so years).
In Matthew 5 Jesus is in the midst of his magisterial Sermon on Mount, and he says,
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13–16, ESV)
He is reminding his disciples who they are and what they are called to do. Jesus wants them to understand their new identity. They are to be a people who allow others to “see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus compares his disciples to salt and a city on a hill. Salt is amazing because you don’t need much to give great flavor to food. Just a little goes a long way. It’s purpose is to give flavor, if it loses its purpose then it just gets thrown out. A city on a hill cannot hide. Where Jesus was teaching from the disciples could see Tiberias, a city on a hill. At night it would be lit up and you could see it from any shore of the Sea of Galilee.
We are to live this way.
The followers of Jesus are to be a people who through their lives show the world the Father. Our lives are to be salt and light. We are to bring flavor to our relationships and show the people in our lives the beauty of the Father.
Jesus wants to know, “You feeling salty?”