“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13a

That’s the first part of Matthew 5:13; just seven short words, but through them Jesus gives His followers an identity that is both an awesome privilege and an incredible responsibility. When Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” He grants to us both the privilege and the responsibility of representing Him to the world around us.

Salt is primarily a flavoring agent, and we are to flavor the world around us with Christ and His teachings. Consider salt in the saltshaker. There are only two reasons to have salt in a saltshaker: one is so that it stays salty and the other is so that it can be poured out. 

Think of church as the saltshaker. We need the Christian teaching and fellowship found there to stay salty, for If we lose our saltiness, we can’t flavor anything. Jesus warns against this in the rest of Matthew 5:13, saying “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.”

But we can’t allow church to become only an inward serving club, just salt flavoring salt. To be effective representatives of Christ we need to get out of the saltshaker. That’s the only way to flavor the world around us. We need to live our faith in front of our family, friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers.

In a “man on the street” interview, one researcher asked people their “impression of Christians” and got a mix of positive and negative responses, including: going to church, fanaticism, trying to get other people to be Christians; being snobby; being hypocrites; being holy; being good people.

By contrast, when he asked what Jesus was known for, the responses were overwhelmingly positive, including: faith, hope, charity, love, forgiveness, saving the world, healing the sick, loving the poor.

If we do our job as God’s salt, people will say about us what they say about Jesus.

Are you still in the saltshaker? Are you willing to be poured out to flavor the world around you?

Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.

Dan Kinnaman

Pastor, Maple Root Baptist Church