When Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth, he used a word that is pregnant with so much meaning. The Bible has at least four meanings associated with salt.
1. Preservation. Salt keeps things from going bad; it holds putrefaction at bay. In the same way, Jesus expects his followers to have a preservation effect on people and culture. Christians are called to be the salt that preserves families and relationships.
2. Seasoning. Salt lends flavor to food. Without salt, our food would be tasteless. Followers of Jesus are the salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.
3. Fertilizer Effect. This is surprising. I’ve always thought that salt kills the soil and makes it useless for agriculture. I was wrong. Researchers from our very own Philippine Coconut Authority in the University of the Philippines say that salt actually enriches the soil, helps plants grow faster, and increases harvest. This confirms what biblical interpreters have always believed. Christians are not only here to slow down the decay of the world but also to stimulate growth in the parts of the world that are barren. In other words, we are meant to stimulate the flourishing of the people that we touch.
4. Purifier. In 2 Kings 2, Elisha healed the poisonous water by putting salt into the spring. When the world is toxic, Christians heal that toxicity by being there, by functioning as salt in that part of the world.