What does it mean to be the salt of the earth? As we consider our response to this question, we can easily lose the significance of the analogy because we don’t understand the historical context. Unlike today, when salt is cheap and common, there was a time when it was considered precious and valuable. In fact, 800 years before Jesus, there was a town in Italy that had its own salt mine. Because that mine was so important, they built a road to it called the Via Salaria (which means view of salt), and it became the first in a network of roads that would ultimately comprise the Roman Empire, one of the greatest world powers of all time. To further highlight the influence that salt had on ancient life, we can examine the origin of several prominent and frequently-used words. For example, the Italian term for soldier is “saldare,” which comes from the word sale, and infers that warriors were salt givers; they wielded power and saliency in society. In addition, the word from which we get our English term salary is “salarium,” because legend has it that sometimes, if there was no gold with which to pay the soldiers, they were compensated in salt. Biblically-speaking, there’s also an interesting verse that likens salt to authority in the book of Ezra. When a group of Persian soldiers wrote to their king to express concern because Israel was building walls, they said, “Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king.” However, in the Hebrew language, what they actually said was, “Because we are salted with the salt of the palace, we are sending this message…” In other words, because the king gave them all the power and good stuff they enjoyed, they were loyal to him alone. Clearly then, salt was a sign of influence and importance in those days, so much so that Jesus called His followers — many of whom were outcasts — the salt of the earth.
My friend, you are God’s salt, and that’s nothing to take lightly! Your presence in the world is important, and you carry great influence and authority in the Name of your Savior. You are precious and valuable in His sight, and He has anointed you to bring healing, purity, and flavor to those around you. Keep yourself rooted and established in Him, invite the Holy Spirit to work through you, and your potency in His Kingdom will grow stronger every day!