Shaking Your Salt

Ancient Salt Bowl
      We Christians must be intentional in expressing our opinions and do it without slander and ugliness. The Apostle Paul's words in Colossians 4:6 are important. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.”  Choosing to season our speech with salt doesn't mean passivity; it means state your views firmly and respectfully. It's difficult to do,  so asking the Lord's help to discipline our speech is essential. Remember, relationships matter. Even in Social Media. We are to shake our salt and season the atmosphere with light.

     The Bible contains plentiful references to salt and knowing how important salt was in ancient cultures helps us understand why it’s mentioned so often. The English language too is filled with mentions of salt in these idioms: “Back to the salt mines, salt of the earth, worth one’s salt, take it with a grain of salt.” Salt has an interesting history where it served important purposes.  

      Before nations were industrialized, salt was part of many economies.  In the Roman Empire salt was part of a soldier’s pay.  Here’s an interesting linguistic fact: The soldier’s pay was called “solarium argentum” and originated the word “salary.” Salt also offered health benefits such as disinfecting wounds and used as a food preservative. 

     Ancient Jews used salt in some sacrifices as one example of covenants. Leviticus 2:13 instructs: "And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt." While the Dead Sea is a “must-see” destination for tourists, in ancient times it was a necessary source skillfully mined by the Jews and used in many contexts. Ezekiel 47:11 puts it this way: “But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt."  

     Examples of salt's value abound and here are a few more examples. In the 6th century, Moorish businessmen considered salt and gold equal in value for trading.  Even into the 1930’s salt taxes levied by Great Britain on India became so burdensome that Mahatma Gandhi led his followers to the sea where they made their own salt. 

     Salt is sprinkled throughout the Bible from the Older Testament to the New.  Jesus picks up on the importance of salt in Israel, His earthly ancestral homeland in the culture of His day. He transitions it into a valuable teaching about salt in relationship to others. 

Jesus taught in 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 underfoot.” He speaks of the value of His followers in “salt” terms and admonishes them to make sure their “salt” spreads out and seasons kingdom relationships with others.  

    Let's make sure our salt remains fresh and seasons our culture in productive Kingdom ways.  It was significant in Jesus’ time and significant for us today to season our speech, season the atmosphere with love and light, and sprinkle the Good News in our daily lives.  #SprinkleSaltInTheSpirit


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