“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matthew 5:13, NASB)
I’m consistently amazed by Jesus’ use of the simplest images to convey deep spiritual truths, and his use of salt imagery is one from which I continue to find more and more meaning. Today, as I read this verse, the word “tasteless” practically jumped off the page. I’ve never thought that salt could be tasteless in the sense of having lost its flavor because I have no memory of ever eating salt with no taste. But I thought of another use of the word “tasteless,” the sense of liking or inclination (think tasteless joke or bad taste in friends).
So, I looked up the Greek word for “tasteless” used in this verse (http://www.biblestudytools.com) and besides meaning “salt that has lost its strength or flavor,” it also can be translated as “foolish.” The root word of the Greek word used here means “foolish, impious and godless.”
Have you ever cringed when another Christian opens his or her mouth and presumes to speak for all Christians? Are you ever sad when you see how TV shows or movies portray Christians? We can criticize those depictions all we want, but if we’re honest, there’s probably an element of truth on which they are based.
I wonder if Christians, the Church, have become tasteless to the world. I’m not saying we’re to say what the world wants to hear, i.e. make the Gospel “taste” good while throwing out the truth. I’m just wondering if we’re fulfilling our mission to make the world crave the Gospel. Salty foods make me thirsty; salty Christians should make others thirsty for the Living Water found in Jesus Christ.
In addition to being tasteless, I wonder if our “salty” lives sometimes leave a bad taste in others’ mouths. I remember one time my husband and I made spoonbread (a cornbread-like dish you can eat with a spoon, hence the name) and when we tasted it, we practically spit it out because it didn’t taste like we had remembered it. Turns out, we used a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon. The salt taste was so overpowering it ruined the dish. Maybe, at times, we can come on too strong and leave people wanting to have nothing to do with Christianity.
Somewhere in between is a balance, and I’m still figuring out how to live a life that leads people to crave Jesus without giving Him a bad name.