Devotion for the Second Sunday in February
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste,
how can its saltiness be restored?” (Matthew 5:13)
What does it mean to be “the salt of the earth”?
When we think of salt, we tend to think of one thing: that shaker on our table that seasons our food. We think of salt as that seasoning we need to lower to control our blood pressure. We think of salt as that which our food has too much or too little of, depending on our tastes.
Certainly, Jesus knew about salt as seasoning. But salt also had other purposes and meanings in Jesus’ day. For Jesus, salt was that which preserved food, especially meat, in order to keep it fresh and keep it from spoiling. Salt was that which was used in medicine to clean out wounds and bring healing.
So, when Jesus tells his disciples and us that we are the salt of the earth, he challenges us in at least three different ways.
As seasoning, Jesus asks us whether we are being the salt of the earth, bringing spice to our lives or others’. Are we enhancing the flavors around us? Are we bringing joy and celebration?
As a preservative, Jesus asks us whether we are being the salt of the earth, preserving and keeping fresh the life around us. Whenever we preserve life and not destroy it, whenever we keep our world fresh and not spoil it, we are the salt of the earth.
As a medicinal agent, Jesus asks us whether we are being the salt of the earth, bringing about healing. Are we cleaning out wounds, reconciling and bringing together people kept far apart? Are we cleaning out wounds of bitterness and resentment?
So, how salty are you? Have you lost your saltiness? If you have, there is one who can restore you. To God through Jesus we pray that we regain our seasoning and carry out our lives as salt of the earth.
God, you call me to be the salt of the earth. Help me to season life and bring joy. Help me to preserve life and not destroy it. Help me to bring healing and reconciliation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor David Armstrong-Reiner