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Feb 4, 2009, 6:46 AM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

Ask any housewife about the value of salt in her cooking and she will tell you 'it is a necessary ingredient'. Ask her husband what it means to savour his favourite dish without salt and he will tell you - tasteless. We have all come to identify with salt in our food, yet only a pinch of it in the cooking is responsible for the taste we have acquired over the years.

For centuries salt along with spices have featured among the products traders have peddled from continent to continent. Salt as a commodity was priceless, considered as a vital ingredient for the conservation and preservation of foods - particularly in a tropical setting. In an environment where there is no refrigerator, people still preserve food with salt. Today, salt is a common feature, found everywhere - accessible to all.

Our Lord Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5 verse 13, looked at his disciples and stated: "You are the salt of the earth." Imagine what must have gone through their minds! What a powerful image Jesus must have painted. Having to salt the earth could prove to be a formidable task, yet he declared 'you,' - as if to exclude any other category of people - are like the salt for the whole human race.

How can His disciples be compared to salt? In essence, He was describing to them how valuable they were and will become in this world. He had in fact challenged them to affect and infect their world, insignificant though they seemed. The strength and power of salt is in the dose, not in its size; you do not need a handful to make your food tasty, just a pinch would do. Our Lord Jesus had made a priced selection of his disciples; He knew their worth and what He was going to make of them - to equip them for glory. They were going to transform the world just like He, Jesus, would.

In describing their role as salt He was empowering them for action. 'Turn your world around,' He was saying. Later He was going to tell them "Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20).

Being 'the salt of the earth' is both a mission and a vision for all Christians to embrace. Whilst we may be in transit in this world, we are called to play a significant role in the daily lives of people. Again, it is not a question of size but how effectively we do what we do, where we do it. How tasty we are in our homes, work places, associations or communities? Do we leave a mark or do we make a positive and lasting impression on others through our comportment, speech, or conduct?

Heaven has put a lot of value in us and we must stand up to our calling to maintain our worth. For Jesus continued, "If the salt loses its saltiness there is no way to make it salty again." Salt can become insipid and tasteless. When we live worthless lives, we make little impact on our surroundings. We become insignificant players on the scene, entering and exiting without a difference.

We were called to an active Christian life, to be role models for others, trend and pacesetters, the beacons of hope in a lost world. We ought to show the way because our Lord and Saviour declared Himself; "the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6) How well we perform this role matters greatly, for if we don't, the end result is that we will "become worthless," only to be thrown out and people will trample on (us)."

Failure to influence our generation and our society will result in a decrease in our value and an increase in our worthlessness. When we lose our saltiness, we lose our sense of worth along with it, and become useless human beings. We become good for nothing. We don't want to be labelled such do we?!

Dear reader, we need to grow and break out of the mould of complacency, adapting to our circumstances like the chameleon. We are called to infect our world and not to be led by it. Christians have been declared to be the reference: 'the head and not the tail.'

In 2009, "stand firm, let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because, you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain." (I Corthinians 15:58).

Christ lived an active and fulfilled life and wants us to do the same. Be different is 2009. Show your saltiness so our world will be preserved.

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me put it into practice. And the Lord of peace will be with you". (Philippians 4:8-9).