“You are the salt” not “You should be the salt”! The disciples are given no choice whether they want to be salt or not. No appeal is made to them to become the salt of the earth. Rather they just are salt whether they want to be or not, by the power of the call which has reached them. You are the salt․not “you have the salt.” It would diminish the meaning to equate the disciples’ message with salt, as the reformers did. What is meant is their whole existence, to the extent that it is newly grounded in Christ’s call to discipleship, that existence of which the Beatitudes speak. All those who follow Jesus’ call to discipleship are made by that call to be the salt of the earth in their whole existence.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” Matthew 5:13
Questions to Ponder
- What are the qualities of salt that make it an apt metaphor for Jesus’ disciples?
- If Christ’s call to discipleship changes our whole existence, in what ways should the disciple’s life be different from those who have not heard or accepted the call?
- Is there any area of a disciple’s life that is exempt from the call to be the salt of the earth? Explain.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:34-37
- How does it feel to understand yourself as the salt of the earth?
- How salty are you?
- List the ways in which you are salt in your family, workplace, and community.
Think of places in your community where “salt” is needed. Pray for your community of faith that it may be up to the call to be salt in those places.
Prayer for Today
Lord, in response to your call, I want to be who you have made me, the salt of the earth.