Those who have eaten with me know how much I love ketchup.
They can attest to how I squirt oodles of it on practically every meal I eat.
Certainly, with a history of Diabetes in my family, I am very conscientious of my ketchup consumption.
Despite that, though, I just can’t seem to get enough of the condiment.
Loaded with sodium, you’d think I would be worried about my salt intake each time I put ketchup on my food.
Well, I might be taking this a little too far and I’m not saying God is telling me to add significant amounts of salt to my diet, but doesn’t the Bible at least encourage me to act like salt?
Recently, I was teaching about Jesus’ Beatitudes featured in His Sermon on the Mount, and as an extension, I shared with my students a subsequent passage – Jesus’ comparison of humanity to salt and light. (Matthew 5:13-16)
This is one of my favorite Biblical selections, as it evidences how Jesus often took something so vast and complicated – such as our purpose on earth or His Kingdom in Heaven – and related it to something so small and simple.
You might recall the passage, which shares how Jesus invites us to be salt of the earth and light of the world.
The verses – if taken literally – can be a little perplexing, however.
I’m supposed to be an ingredient found in ketchup or shaken from a tiny glass cylinder?
I’m being compared to a lamp post or a night light plugged into an electrical outlet in a bathroom?
As I explain with my students, it’s only when we step back from the literal sense of His teaching that we can appreciate Jesus’ message and understand our vocation and mission.
You see, salt is an additive used frequently in meal preparation to enrich a food’s flavor.
Whether it be adding a pinch of salt into a soup to remove any bland taste or sprinkling some on your eggs or French fries, the right amount of salt can enhance the savor of whatever it is you’re eating.
Additionally, salt serves as a preservative, preventing food from spoiling and guarding it against decay.
Like salt, we are called to add flavor to the world, contributing our best in order to preserve and nurture all that is right in society while combatting anything that can cause harm.
As for being a light for our world, we are charged by God with the responsibility of illuminating society around us, bringing clarity to those who may live in a state of darkness or confusion.
Through striving to display virtues and a constant search for truth, we can shed light on the world every day in so many ways.
A humble demeanor, respect towards all people, complete and genuine effort in all that we do and a sincere investment in our relationships can all help us serve as torches or flashlights, blazing a path of understanding for others so desperate to know God’s shining way.
As Jesus teaches, we should be mindful to do this with no hesitation or shame, instead providing an inspirational beacon of hope, recognizing the need for God’s light in the world. (John 8:12)
But what about the expression adding salt to the wound? Wouldn’t salt intensify the pain?
Well, as Jesus tells us, in living as salt of the earth, we act as an antidote for any suffering the world may experience.
While filled with blessings, today’s world is also undeniably wounded.
Child neglect, discrimination of all sorts, violence and abuse of physical, mental and emotional natures are just some examples of what fills our daily news coverage, leading to an increased sentiment of despair, pain and hatred – the antithesis of God’s plan for His creation.
But if we live out our salt-like vocation of enriching society’s goodness, preserving our world’s beauty and highlighting its potential, we can protect one another from all that is wrong and harmful.
Doing so can light the path to God’s Kingdom, restoring our community from brokenness and brightly guiding us to eternal paradise.
Of course, you can accept all that you’ve read here or disregard it, as is your God-given free will.
All I ask is that you take it with a grain of salt.