Salt is good

Salt is one of those things we take for granted today, kind of like clean air.  We only notice it when it’s not there anymore.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?”  Mark 9:50a

For most of us, that verse makes little sense.  How can salt lose it’s saltiness?  What is Jesus talking about?

In the ancient world and even up until recent times, salt was pretty important.  It was vital for preserving food, enjoyable as a seasoning, necessary in small amounts for health and water retention in the body.  It was also used in very small amounts as a soil conditioner.  Because it was valuable, dishonest merchants would dilute salt by mixing in white powder like gypsum to increase their profits.  Salt could also become too moist and sticky and have impurities mingled with it and lose saltiness.

In the journey with Jesus, salt is the quality of discipleship that is distinctive and pure.  Lose the flavor of Jesus in your life and you have lost something priceless.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”  Mark 9:50

In the context (Mark 9), this is striking.  The disciples have not been effective at casting out demons (Mark 9:28-29), they want to exclude others from their circle who are effective at casting out demons in Jesus’ name ( Mark 9:38), they are arguing among themselves about who is greatest and has the most rank and prestige (Mark 9:33-35).  In short, they are in danger of losing their saltiness!  So the warning comes from Jesus.

How salty are you?