What does salt of
the earth MEAN?
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Question: What does it mean to be the salt of the earth?
Answer: The interesting thing about salt is that although it is essential to life and good health, too much of it can be harmful. Blood, sweat and tears are salty. Its importance has lasted for several millennia. Anciently, the mineral provided for the financial basis for art and culture. In Roman times, it was so precious it provided the means to pay soldiers. In the Middle Ages, its nickname was "White Gold." The use of this mineral as currency, called salarium, is where the English word salary originated.
The first mention of this mineral in the Bible is found in the Book of Genesis:
"And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations, that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these joined together in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the SALT Sea). " (Genesis 14:1-3, NKJV throughout)
Jesus, in his well-known Sermon on the Mount, discusses the phrase we want to define.
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Matthew 5:13)
The definition we need is just a few verse below the above quote.
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14,16)
Jesus tells those wishing to follow him that they must make a difference in the world. The difference made is "the flavor" -- the good works we do are to shine like a light on a lampstand and offer a witness for Christ. Up until recently, salt was used as a means to preserve food. By living in accordance with God's Way of Life, Christians also preserve the earth by slowing the decay of morals in the society around them.