I recognize that not all of you may spend the large amount of time around high schoolers that I do (as a teacher, YoungLife leader, and coach), so I'll help you out if this word means nothing but a spice to you. In today's lingo, being salty means that you are upset or bitter. For example, if I gave kids a hard time about doing their work, they'd respond with something like this: "Klein, you're so salty today!" or "Mrs. K, you're still salty about the Royals' loss last night." Strange, I know. But this is what the kids are up to these days. God bless 'em.
Just as I was snapping a quick pic of the sign, I found myself thinking a whole lot differently about being defined as "salty". Yes, there's quite the gap to bridge between Urban Dictionary lingo and a Bible verse, but my mind jumped that gap with little effort. Salty. Funny how the kids have taken it to mean something negative, when in fact being "salty" in another way is a Biblical calling of sorts. In Matthew 5, Jesus is giving his famous Sermon on the Mount, and has just finished teaching the Beatitudes. He goes on to say this in verse 13:
"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."
The salt of the Earth, huh? Think about what salt is and has been used for: flavor and preserving. Just as salt was used to keep food good and to offer it flavor, Christians are called to do the same. To enhance the earth with a positive influence, and to preserve the good in it from the wicked ways of man. To maintain a focus on the Lord and His will for us all.
You see being "salty" is a good thing- something we are called to. By following the Beatitudes and the Word of God, we become "salty" in a whole new way. We have the ability to help prevent the moral decay around us. The call to look different, and to be set apart in our words, deeds, and love for others. But we are cautioned in the passage above that if we lose our saltiness, we are no longer "good for anything". In fact, the very effect of our saltiness is lost if we become like this world. We are not called to be like the world, but instead in it and set apart from it. Our very influence for the kingdom depends deeply on our ability to be distinct, instead of identical.
This isn't always easy. We're human. We mess up. We can't save ourselves, but instead depend fully on the Lord and His loving grace. But we've got to remember to be salty. To be set apart, a light in the darkness, a city on the hill. We've got to live and love in such a way that others wonder why we do it. How we do it. And then when they notice, and ask, we will have an answer for our hope. And it will be the Lord.
We are salt and light. We are tasked with moments day after day where we can look like the world, or be set apart. Where we can choose to live out our faith, or lose our saltiness. So I'm adopting this mantra: stay salty. Choose life. Choose the Lord. Choose to look and love in a different way. We are the salt and light of this world, friends. Let's not forget it. Stay salty.