And make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:19-20
“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." - Matthew 5:13
Can I just say...after visiting Utah for the first time...WOW. Every turn you take on the gorgeous mountain drives seems to drop your jaw even further. And their cities are full of unique buildings, tastes, and people.
The more time we spent in this beautiful state though, the more we seemed to come across something...salt.
Arches National Park - thousands of standing structures, all sitting on a bed of salt.
When the salt below would shift, the rocks would crumble and fall, leaving behind chunks of rock and the many Arches that we enjoy when we visit the park. Salt was everywhere. From the moment we entered the park we were met with miles and miles of the stunning landscape...All resting on salt.
From the famous Delicate Arch that Viv is enjoying here to the largest arch in the park, Landscape Arch, this park had us reflecting on the control that God has here on this Earth and the role that He has for us today.
"Don't be salty" was something I would say to my teammates regularly in college. It was a saying that meant to not be bitter towards others, and not ruin the mood. It seems like there is something as too much salt. So when Jesus talks about being the salt of the earth what does it mean to you?
Well, Viv put it this way..."Have you ever tried pretzels without salt? Well at that point, it's just stale bread." She is right! There are foods that we eat every single day that need salt. And NOT just for flavoring. I believe that yes, Jesus was telling us to be the flavoring agent of the world, to bring out the best in others, to season their lives with love and grace...but when he said those words in his Sermon on the Mount I think he meant much more.
From the Arches resting on a bed of salt to the Great Salt Lake itself, all the way to the Great Salt Flats, a giant salt dessert on the far west side of the state, it was clear that salt is a key ingredient to the Utah experience. We had a special opportunity to wander around by ourselves in this massive salt desert. Flying our drone, dancing by ourselves, and driving our van all around. It was daunting to think about the entire wasteland that once would have been a giant lake that would have spanned about a quarter of the entire state.
So back to Jesus. When looking at the uses of salt in the First Century, and even how they have been adapted to today, we clearly see that Jesus wasn't just telling his followers to make people's lives better or more flavorful...
One of the most sought after sources of wealth during that time would have been salt. In fact, did you know that the wold SALARY even comes from the same root SAL as salt? Salt was worth its weight equal to gold and it was a common method of payment offered to the soldiers during the rise of the Roman empire. So when Jesus says to be salt, he is saying that it is time for us to recognize our worth and value as children in His kingdom.
He Values us and He values YOU more than we could ever imagine. More than gold.
The final thing that Salt does is it preserves. When you scrub meat with salt, you are preserving it without the use of a refrigerant. In a day where everything is done by hand, this valuable resource would have been sought after. To preserve something is not something God is new at by the time Jesus tells His followers to do it in the New Testament.
In fact, the Hebrew word "chayah," which means to preserve life, is used 264 times throughout the Old Testament, almost always referring to God preserving his people. Yet in the new testament, we see Jesus now telling His people to be the ones that are going to preserve the rest of the Earth. To give life, to offer life, to extend the lives of others both their physical lives and their souls.
So...How are you doing today?
Are you salty?
Have you added flavor to someone's life today?
Have you recognized your worth today?
Have you preserved and given life to someone today?
Please PRAY with us today as we lift up all our brothers and sisters during this Christmas Season! All those who are unable to visit family during the Holidays. All those currently sick. All those who feel like they have lost their saltiness. We are praying for you!