If someone where to call you salt, you may consider that an insult.
That's because salt isn't worth much these days. You could run to your local store and grab a box of salt for less than two bucks.
But when Jesus refers to His disciples as "the salt of the earth" they regarded it a great compliment. Salt was a very valuable commodity in those days.
Wars were fought over salt. People were paid in salt. If they didn't do an effective job they were judged as not being "worth their salt".
Those hearing Jesus refer to the righteous as salt of the earth they understand precisely what He meant.
Salt had three primary and very valuable functions in those days.
First, as in our day, salt provided flavor to their food and enhanced their meals.
French fries are good, but they are better with salt.
Fresh sliced tomatoes are good, but they are even better with salt.
In the same way, Jesus calls those made righteous by faith to flavor their world with His grace, and truth and justice.
Your home should be a more pleasant place because you live there.
Your neighborhood should be more appealing because you live in it.
Your workplace should have a better environment because you work there.
The gym you belong to or your softball team or your bowling team should be more positive because you are a member.
When Jesus says you are salt, He means you should put a good taste in people's mouth for faith because of your influence!
So, are you salt or are you an insult to righteousness?
Second, then as now, salt purified. It was considered a pure and stable element that would cause chemical reactions which could sanitize and decontaminate.
In ancient days salt was used for cleaning and purifying clothing, homes, and wounds.
Likewise, people made righteous by faith should have a spiritual and moral purity that has a cleansing effect where they live, where they play, where they work and where they worship.
The influence of their righteousness should make others want to be better and convict others who don't.
So, how about it? Do you have a healthy, healing, purifying effect on your environment? Are you salt or are an insult?
Third, more so then than now, salt preserved. Back when there was no refrigeration, meat would quickly begin to deteriorate but rubbing it with salt stopped the rot and refreshed the meat. Salted meat could stay safely edible for long periods of time. What a blessing that was!
Since some of the offerings in the temple involved the flesh of animals, salt was rubbed on them to keep them from spoiling and stinking during the ritual.
If you didn't have your Frigidaire or your GE refrigerator you would value salt much more than you do!
Jesus calls His righteous ones to have preserve all that is good decent and holy in their culture. By their witness and by their influence their home, their neighborhood, their place of work and their place of worship should be a positive alternative in contrast to the rest of their community.
So I ask you, are you salt or an insult?