Worthy Or Not Of Your Salt?
When I was young, it was common to refer to someone as worth their salt. I grew up on a farm and, our community, prized hard workers. Being lazy or not putting all you had into your work was not being worth your salt. It was a reputation no one wanted. One should be worth their pay and recognized as a good worker or employee.
We understood the high value of salt in the past and in the Bible. Before refrigeration, salt was an essential mineral in preserving food and seasoning food for eating. In addition, it was a common disinfectant for infected cuts or a gargle of salt water for a sore throat.
Growing up, I was unaware that Hebrew religious sacrifices required the use of salt. Salt was added to grain offerings and cast on burnt offerings. In the culture of Jesus, salt was sometimes a sign and symbol of a covenant of friendship. Sometimes it signified permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, value, and purification. Therefore, it is unsurprising that Jesus references salt concerning his disciples and followers.
In Matthew 5:13-15, Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth. However, He cautions them that salt can lose its saltiness, become worthless, and be thrown out. Salt sometimes at the time of Jesus did become tasteless and useless, and then it was thrown on paths and streets to be trampled by walkers.
Jesus encourages his disciples to remain valid and valuable like salt as the light for the world. As people understood that salt was important and helpful, Jesus stressed that his disciples, as the light of the world, would be beneficial as long as they shone clearly like a city on a hill. His disciples must give light before men. People must see their good deeds and, as a result of their acts, praise God the Father.
Jesus often attracted large crowds of people traveling with him and his disciples. In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus tells the group following him what it means to be worth their salt as one of His disciples. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Any of you who does not give up everything, cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” Jesus warned the large crowd about the high cost of being his disciple.
As there is a high cost to being a good worker and employee, there is a total cost of being a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said in Mark 8:36,38, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, The Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
A good worker is ready for the boss to judge his work performance, but are we prepared for God’s final judgment for each of us?