“Salty talk” is not descriptive of cultured language. In fact it borders on indelicacy or impropriety – sometimes it is indecent. Why am I discussing salty talk? Because I have just read Matthew 5:13 where Jesus tells his followers, “You are the salt of the world.’
Let me present three things he might have had in mind.
Salt is a seasoning. I dare say the highest criticism of food in hospitals and rest homes is that there is no salt in the food. I concur. In my house you might hear something like this. “
“Hand me the salt shaker.”
“Sammy, I salted the potatoes already.”
As Sammy takes the shaker, I repeat, “I put salt in the potatoes.”
As he adds salt, I say, “You should taste those before you add salt.”
Then I quietly get a second shaker and add salt on my own.
Yes, we like our salt. Vinegar and salt potato chips. Um, um, good. Um, um, good. That’s what vinegar and salt potato chips are. Um, um, good.
- Salt is a healing agent. It might not be known as such anymore. But in my background, it was good for everything that needed an antiseptic. Canker sores, sore throat, bleeding gums, skinned knees – that was not, um, um, good! But it did speed the healing process.
- Salt is a preservative. Pig butchering day! What a day! Aunts and uncles came to help. Meat was everywhere! Render the fat. Cook the ribs. Put the cooked meat in big cans and pour on the fat. Fry the tenderloins for supper. But the ham and bacon didn’t have to be cooked that day. It was salted, and stored in the storehouse. Then we had fresh meat all winter, that is, if you can call salted meat fresh, anyway it was preserved.
So, with those bits of information, how might the “salt of the world” – you and I – talk some “salty talk”.
First, be seasoning. When people used to ask my father-in-law, How are you? He replied, “I’m saved, thank you.” That probably added a spice to some folks. Would you acknowledge that you are sometimes a grouch. Try a little salty talk “Give the world some salt each day. Help to brighten someone’s way.” Add zest to the mundane!
Second, try salty talk for healing. The Bible says that life and death is in the power of the tongue. Have you seen the commercial where dad is under the sink working on the pipes, and the little boy comes and asks if he can help. Dad says no buddy, this is man’s work, A dejected little boy walks away. I almost cry. Then dad says, Hey, buddy, could you come hold the flashlight for me. I want to jump with joy over dad’s good sense. What a healing tongue for that child. A little guy was reading the song book at church a couple of weeks ago. I complimented him a bit, but later I realized what a golden opportunity I had lost in not making a big deal – a mountain of salt – that would have spiced that little guy’s life for some time. Maybe it would have made a difference in his whole school outlook.
What might “salty talk” do to preserve? In the form of pickets and editorials, it might help preserve our Judeo-Christian values. In the form of “I Love Yous” it might preserve our families. In the form of prayer, it might preserve our nation. In the form of “Thanks for a job well done,” it might sustain employment for someone. When Brad or Betty in Walmart’s garden center load eight bags of gravel for you, sweat rolling, call Wal-Mart and tell them what a good service they rendered. Brad or Betty and some supervisor will have a lift for the day.
So what did Jesus mean when he said we are salt. I’m sure he did not have in mind Lot’s wife who turned to a pillar of stone – a stone statue standing still, silent and impotent amidst a multitude of people who need zest, healing, and preservation.
No, I’m sure he meant for us to “spread a little salt around.”