“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where
“‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
Everyone will be salted with fire.
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
– Mark 9:42-50
“What a blessing to be useful salt that purifies, flavors, and preserves. U. S. President Woodrow Wilson once talked about an experience he had at a barbershop. A man came in and sat at a barber’s chair next to him and showed such a personal interest in the man cutting his hair that the atmosphere in the room changed. ‘I was aware I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr. D. L. Moody was in that chair,’ Wilson later reflected. ‘They did not know his name, but they knew something had elevated their thoughts, and I felt that I left that place as I should have left a place of worship.’ Moody became salt to everyone in that room.”
– Barry C. Black, ‘How can you make it salty again?’, What Did Jesus Ask?
I have had some good times in the barbershop, but nothing like that.
Some people who do not study their history may be totally lost in this Scripture. Isn’t salt something that we want to avoid? Doesn’t it clog arteries or something? To be factual, too much salt causes the body to retain moisture. With excess moisture in the body, high blood pressure can result leading to a variety of medical problems.
But salt in the time of Jesus was extremely valuable. There was no refrigeration. To preserve meat, it was usually salted.
When we lived in Germany for three years, we visited Berchtesgaden twice. There is a salt mine just east of Berchtesgaden. A little past the mine, you enter Austria. The first big city down the road is Salzburg, fourth largest city in Austria. Salzburg means ‘Salt Castle’. The photo above is of Mirabel Gardens in Salzburg in the foreground and the Salt Castle, Hohensalzburg, built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard, is on the hill in the background. Salzburg had been a gathering place for salt since the Roman Empire.
Salzburg is a very interesting city to wander around. You will turn a corner and think that you have been there before. Actually, you are remembering scenes from the movie, The Sound of Music. They have tours designed around the settings for the movie, but my wife and I enjoyed ‘finding them’ on our own. Salzburg is also the home of Mozart, and a tour of his home is a must for the music enthusiast.
There is so much city, built around the point where the mines brought and gathered their salt, storing it until the barges came up the river Salzach.
The term ‘salty’, when referring to a person, has a rough connotation. There is a certain edginess to the word. There may be charisma in the ‘salty’ dog, but can you trust the ‘salty’ person. Maybe that is what Jesus was talking about when He mentioned losing your saltiness.
Salt adds flavor, but it should never dominate the food. Salt preserves, but too much salt is just a waste.
Just as salt retains water in the body, a bad thing with too much salt, salt can gather things from the air. Salt, in a jar, can purify the air, but some pagan beliefs go further so that the ceremonial salt jar purifies your life, your intentions, and your aspirations. A salt jar may not be a bad thing in air purification, but I will trust in Jesus for the purification of my life, intentions, and aspirations.
Jesus may have used this question more than once about how to regain one’s saltiness. The first thing that Jesus mentions after the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13) is the same question, with a twist at the end. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
May you remain salty. No one wants to see you trampled under foot. I doubt anyone has ever spoken of me sitting in a barber’s chair as Woodrow Wilson said of D. L. Moody, but what a goal it would be to live one’s life so that just meeting you casually, the observer thinks that he was just at a worship service.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.