When I was a kid, my parents owned a piece of property in the mountains. My dad would take my siblings and I out there, we would hike around, and my dad would teach us about nature and wildlife. Every year we would put a salt lick in a clearing to attract deer. I was thinking about these adventures the other day, but I couldn’t think of how a block of salt would appeal to animals. If you know much about wildlife, you probably already know all about salt licks, but I had to look it up. What I discovered about them shed light on a whole concept from the Bible I have never quite understood; the idea of being the salt of the earth.
Salt licks (or mineral licks) actually occur in nature to provide essential nutrients to animals that live in nutrient-poor areas. Many animals such as moose, deer, elephants, and cows visit these mineral deposits to get sodium, calcium, zinc, and other minerals their bodies need for healthy growth. The giant blocks of salt I remember my dad putting on our property when I was a little girl were artificial salt licks, which people use to attract wildlife. Animals congregate around salt licks, whether natural or artificial, and often return to them to get these necessary minerals.
When Jesus says we are the salt of the earth, I interpret it as his followers providing essential vitality to the people on this earth that they wouldn’t get otherwise. And the reality is we will perish without these nutrients. We have to remember what we have in knowing and believing the gospel is critical to share with others. Hopefully we are living in such a way that others are attracted to us, like the animals are to the salt licks. It is like Jesus says in the rest of Matthew 5:13, “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.”
Just like your favorite salty snack, once you start eating it, you don’t want to stop. I want the love of Jesus I demonstrate and the testimony of God’s goodness in my life to keep others coming back for more and ultimately lead to their salvation. I don’t want to lose my flavor. I want to provide essential nutrients, the gospel of life, to the people in my life who don’t know Jesus. And to the ones who do know him, I want to pour out more hope, joy, and wisdom just by being who I am; someone who is salty.
by Lauren Bratten
“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13
Jesus, I want to be salty to those who don’t know you. Let people be drawn to me and receive the message of salvation from my words and actions.
Why do some people thrive during challenges, and others don’t?
The answer is grit: the strength at our core that fuels a scrappy response to threats, fear, confusion, and pain.
Without Jesus, grit is just a gimmick. With Jesus, grit can infuse the world—and our lives—with hope.