“He is not worth his salt” used to be a common expression. It originated in ancient Greece where salt was traded for slaves. Roman solders were paid “salt money“. To be “worth one’s salt” is to be worth one’s pay or salary. In fact the word “salary” comes from the word “salarium” (sal is the latin word for salt).
In Gen 3:19 the Lord tells Adam & Eve that “By the sweat of your face You will eat bread”… The plumber who buries himself underneath your crawl space is laboring to repair your plugged drain. You are willing to pay for his “sweat” for something you value.
The farmer who wakes up every morning before dawn and reaps a harvest which he has sown and toiled over is transferring his “sweat” to your dinner plate so that you are fed and nourished.
The doctor who studied for 12 years so that he could correctly diagnose your problem or perhaps do surgery on you is transferring his “sweat” into your healing.
Interesting one of the older definitions of worship is [Old English] weorthscipe, from two words –[worth and ship], weorth, which means “worth,” and scipe or ship, which means something like shape or “quality.” We can see the Old English word -ship in modern words like friendship and sportsmanship – that’s the quality of being a friend, or the quality of being a good sport. So worth-ship is the quality of having worth or of being worthy. When we worship, we are saying that God has worth, that he is worthy. Worship means to declare worth, to attribute worth. Or to put it in biblical terms, we praise God. We speak, or sing, about how good and powerful God is.
Sweat or salt reflects work or labor or value. Salt is mentioned several times in the Bible in reference to either being paid or pointing out the good. Jesus told his disciples and the crowd listening that they were the “salt of the earth” during the Sermon on the Mount.
We earn money from our sweat in the natural realm and then transfer that part of ourselves “our sweat” – back to the Lord in our tithes and offerings. It is an act of worship as we offer our “sweat dollars” back to the Lord. We can offer other things than have substantial value as well. Setting aside time to read His word and to pray is an active form of worship and the costs can be great. My time, in my opinion, is the most costly of all. We all have been given the same amount of time each day and it is so easy to squander it on “frivolous stuff” when I could set time aside for the Kingdom. I can never recapture lost time, but I can always make more money.
In 2 Samuel 24:24 David said “I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” David understood something important, something we occasionally forget or perhaps have never realized. He knew that if he had no investment or something that did not cost him, the sacrifice was meaningless. Here’s the interesting part of the story. David knew he needed to offer a sacrifice at a particular place: the threshing floor of Araunah. The owner offered to give David everything he needed to make the sacrifice. The oxen, the wood for the fire, even the piece of property were willingly offered to David. If David had accepted, the sacrifice would have looked exactly like the sacrifice he finally ended up offering. In outward appearance there would have been no difference.
But David refused. He would not offer something to God that cost him nothing.
Perhaps David was on to something. Maybe the Lord isn’t interested in what our worship looks like on the surface. When you and I gather together to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ, we can appear to be involved in actual worship. We can sing and smile, clap our hands, perhaps even dance before the Lord. But is that it? Is it just an appearance? Are we truly making the necessary investment into what we’re offering to the Lord? Are our hearts really engaged with Him as we “worship” or does it just look proper on the outside? Are we honestly allowing God to mold and shape us with His Word throughout the week? Do we just come on Sunday morning and go through the motions…clap our hands, sing the songs and never pay a price of investing ourselves into worship?
There are many other forms of worship as well. Worship doesn’t have to happen on Sunday in church, it can occur anywhere, anytime, in any arena. Regardless of what form of worship we are offering –when we worship we should be offering to the Lord something that costs us, something of value or something we value. Those things could be (but not limited to) money, our time in prayer, offering the next door neighbor a service that you could give out of your abundance to meet their needs…perhaps volunteering in a food kitchen or in a nursing home or writing to prisoners to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. There are so many wonderful ways to worship. The list is endless. It may be an exciting thing to discover how many ways we can worship the Lord. Our worship is a sweet fragrance to the Lord when it costs us something or given out of a great sacrifice.
There was a one sacrifice given that allowed us to be called Sons of God, that allowed us to have continual fellowship with God the Father, to have our names written in The Book of Life. That sacrifice cost Jesus His life. He gave it freely for us. In His example — how can we offer in return a worship or sacrifice that costs us little or nothing?