I recently had the opportunity to descend 650 feet into the earth for a tour of a salt mine. We saw a chunk of 99% pure salt, glimmering in the light, almost see-through. There were boulders of salt cut out of the cavern, only 4’ across, and weighing many tons. I couldn’t resist going up to one and licking it. This particular mine covers miles, and is still active today. You wouldn’t think salt would be so interesting, but I was blown away by some of the things I learned. It got me to thinking about Jesus’ description of His children as “the salt of the earth”. What does this actually mean?
What Can a Lowly Mineral Teach us About Living for Jesus?
No. 2: Salt Purifies
Have you ever soaked a sore ankle in salt water, or gargled a glassful of that briny elixir to ease a sore throat? I remember my mom directing me to do these things, well before I had any grasp of the science behind it. I just knew that it was what we did, and it worked. Cuts didn’t get infected and scratchy throats felt better.
Salt is a cleanser; a purifier. It can help heal a wound through the process of osmosis; just like a salty dish makes you feel thirsty, salt acts to dehydrate damaged cells, helping to pull harmful fluids out of a wounded area. Salt is useful for its abrasive properties; I use coarse sea salt to scrub out my cast iron skillet, preserving the seasoning while cleaning the grime.
If “you are the salt of the earth”, then part of our calling is to help bring cleansing and purity to the world around us. How do we do this? Purification is an uncomfortable process, and one we may shy away from. I know I do. There are a couple of things we should keep in mind as we seek to be salt in this way.
First, it is not me who does the cleansing, but God’s Spirit and His Truth. My job is to be a truth-teller, sprinkling the seasoning of the Word with my actions, my words, and my life. It is God’s job to take the Truth and work it into the heart of another, convicting and purifying through the cleansing of that Word.
Second, salt stings, particularly when it comes into contact with an open wound, yet it helps bring healing. This should give us gentleness in how we apply the salt of truth, and courage to apply it. If I sense that sharing a “truth” will cause pain to the hearer, I need to check my motives and make sure that I’m not acting out of a personal vendetta. I also need to not shy away from calling someone to the clarifying and healing standard of Scripture, simply because that process might cause pain. I should dare to love them enough to share the path to freedom. I have had friends who have loved me like this. Their words stung because they contained truth that convicted a part of my heart that needed to be cleansed, and it was their courage to speak the truth that opened a path to healing. What a painful, glorious gift.
Third, and perhaps most important: if I am to share the purifying salt of Truth with others, I must first allow it to be applied to me. When we allow the salt of truth to scrub away the soiled, scabbed, or infected places in our hearts, our soul-cells are flung open to receive the oxygen of life. As envy is burned away, I am no long threatened by my sister’s success, but able to celebrate with her. As critical thoughts are scrubbed loose, I am released of irritation at my coworker, and able to relate with kindness. As fear is tugged loose from my heart, I am freed of clutching anxiety and able to embrace the moment with joyful trust. Out of the humility of purification, we become more qualified to sprinkle the salt of truth with grace, love, and propriety.
Don’t fear the sting of salt in your spiritual growth. Don’t withhold sprinkling the truth, even when it may cause discomfort. Receive, and share, so that we may know the truth, and let it set us free.
This guest post is written by Rae Schrock, Editor in Chief of Daughters of Promise Magazine. This article first appeared on the Daughters of Promise blog. The second in a series of four, it is used with permission. For more information about the magazine, click here.