It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring. Numbers 18:19
In the ancient world, there was no refrigeration. Decay and rot were the great enemies of life, and salt was the only force that could arrest decay. It could preserve flesh, so it had a power in the ancient world. It was almost like magic.
In many ways salt was the beginning of trade in the ancient world. Civilizations fought wars over it. Romans would pay their soldiers, their salary, often in salt. In fact, we get the word “salary” from the Latin word for salt, which was sal. We get the word salad from the Roman practice of salting leafy vegetables.
The Bible talks a lot about salt. Some of you know, there was a family of a guy by the name of Lot. They’re fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife was disobedient to God, and she was turned into a—pillar of salt. And they took her with them on the journey, and that was the beginning of the salt lick.
So, salt is like this magic thing in the ancient world. God says, I want to make with you a covenant of salt.
God says, “Because in my world there’s rot, there’s decay, there’s sin, there’s deceit, there’s corruption, there’s selfishness. Everything’s spoiled. I’m going to start a new people, and I’m going to have a covenant of salt, so that through my people I can begin the process of saving my world from corruption, and decay, and rot. As you meet with people, you’re freshness, you’re hope, you’re joy. You are a covenant of salt. Blessed, to be a blessing.”
This is the divine conspiracy of subversive spirituality.
My father told me recently that a guy in their neighborhood came to him and asked him if he could borrow some money. My dad told him that he would pray about it and talk to his wife. Next day my dad gave him $1,000 cash and said, “Pay me if you can when you can, so I can help someone else.”
The guys said, “You’re the only person who has agreed to help me.”
Salt of the earth.
Effie Peyton was an 89 year old saint in a church I pastored. I would go to visit her in the hospital and always leave feeling blessed by her. As I walked into the room with the buzzing machines, the harsh florescent lights and when she would see me she’d always reached over and grabbed her teeth and put them in her mouth and smile a huge smile, this 80 pound woman.
“Pastor, how’s that beautiful wife of yours?” she’d ask. “And what about those boys? They are getting so big!”
We’d visit a while and then I could tell she was getting tired and I would make a move to leave and she’s say, “Pastor, can I pray for you?” Then she’d spend the next ten Pentecostal minutes lifting her spindly arms up to her heavenly Father, and pray for me, Lynette, Cole, Clinton and Caleb.
A nurse came in one time while she was praying and Effie new she was in the room so she started praying for the nurse, by name. I smiled.
I left and lingered just outside her room for a moment and heard her say to the nurse, “Honey, that’s my pastor. He’s a good man. He loves Jesus. Honey, do you love Jesus?”
She was the salt of the earth.
In your work, when you are shopping, and you bring joy, or when you challenge somebody, when you listen, when you touch, when you hug, when you laugh, when you say “You matter.” When you give a gift, when you write a note, when you make a call, when you volunteer, when you say to somebody…
Honey, Jesus loves you, He would love to be your friend.
That’s when you are the salt of the earth. And a little of the Kingdom of Heaven falls to this rotten earth.