You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. Matthew 5:13
When Christ compares us to salt, He would teach us that we, as subjects of His grace, are to be active agents in saving others—a medium of the blessings which God wants to bestow to the people of all nations. Hundreds of years before Jesus spoke these words, the Prophet Elisha exemplified through a miracle the same lesson that that Jesus imparted his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount:
Back then, the people of Jericho had a problem which they brought to the attention of the prophet. The land around the city was unproductive, and the water was bad.
Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.” 2 Kings 2:20-21
The water remained pure from that day on.
The lesson is not about salt’s miraculous power. It is symbolic. Just as the bitter waters represent the state of this sinful world, the healing of the waters by salt represents the divine influence working through a rather commonplace medium—Us. The lesson draws on salt’s inherent chemical property of solubility, which means that it dissolves easily in water (and other solvents). Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate and infuse it so that it may be preserve and flavor food.
So it is though personal contact and association that the world can be reached by the saving power of the gospel. Many people erroneously think that spreading the gospel to others is giving pamphlets to random strangers in the streets, or knocking door to door, or leaving home and family to preach in other countries. Well it’s not. It’s never so hard (or in some cases–unproductive) as that. The world needs evidence of sincere Christianity. The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society, and the world is full of souls suffering for want of saving influence.
Do not withdraw yourself from the world to escape persecution or to keep yourself from acquiring the habits of the world. When God places us in a particularly challenging situation it is because it is our turn to do good around us. We are to abide among our fellow men, that the savor of divine love may be as salt to preserve the world from corruption. We are called to diffuse that grace which Christ alone can impart. Our calling is to uplift and to sweeten the lives and characters of others by the power of a pure example united with an earnest faith and love.
Adapted passages from
E. G. White, Desire of Ages: “The Sermon on the Mount”
E. G. White, Prophets and Kings: “The Healing of the Waters.”