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You are the Salt of the Earth

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You are the salt of the earth.” This metaphor is very powerful and is to be understood in the context of our Christian faith. As salt gives flavor to food, so our faith enriches not just our own lives, but the lives of all those who are a part of our lives, as well as those we encounter in our daily lives. Our faith gives us strength and “flavors” all that we say and do with love.

The faith that we have was given to us by God. It is inspired and nourished in us through his Holy Spirit. It was Jesus who showed us how to be “salt of the earth.” Salt is not just a flavor enhancer. We need salt, in proper balance, in order to maintain good health. In the case of our faith, it not only flavors the quality of our lives, but it is necessary for the health and well-being of our eternal souls.

There is a difference though between natural salt and the “salt of the earth” that Jesus is calling us to be. Salt has no will, but faith is directly related to our wills, to our conscious, informed understanding, and our free choice. We are not to remain passive to the gift of faith that God so generously gives us. We are to continue to grow in our faith and in our commitment to it. We are to practice it, to live it publicly. It is this that the world needs from those of us who call ourselves Christians. The world needs to “taste and see” the salt of our faith in Jesus Christ. In reality, the world is starving for this faith lived out. Jesus challenges us further with the last clause of the Beatitude, “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”

The only way that our faith can lose its “saltiness” is if we let it fade because we are not paying attention to it, or if we let ourselves sink into a boredom resulting from laziness. We can lose sight of it by becoming enamored with the lesser things of the world. Or, worse, we can consciously choose to turn away from it with arrogant defiance. If that happens to us, we not only lose ourselves, but the world loses too, because it will no longer be able to be flavored and nourished by the challenge of the “salt” of our faith. We are salt of the earth. Jesus has made us so, and his Holy Spirit continues to enhance our “saltiness” through our growing faith. It is up to us to remain open to it, to continually choose to grow in it, despite the challenges the world puts before us. It is through our humble and willing submission to God and his commandments for us that God continues to be with us and to grace us with all that we need to retain and grow our “saltiness.”

Lord, we pray that you strengthen our faith. Help us to be the salt of a living faith that can bring flavor and nourishment to the lives of those closest to us, and for all who are hungry to know your love and your mercy. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.