Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pass the Salt

This week I have been suffering from a sinus infection brought on by an allergy attack, and I have been unable to breathe. A bad side effect to this is that my taste buds are off and nothing has tasted good for the last few days. We have gone out to eat a couple of times, and nothing I ate had any flavor. I had to pour the salt on to get anything to taste halfway good. The first thing I’ve eaten this week that has tasted good was some pasta sauce I made last night that I socked with salt and spices.

Ironically, this ties in with the bible passage I made note of in my last post. As I was reading the passage in Luke about counting the cost of being a disciple of Jesus, I noticed that the passage ended with Jesus saying something about salt that loses its flavor and becomes worthless (Luke 14. 25-35). Jesus also told his disciples that they are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5.13). Now, I have never really given this passage a lot of thought, but now that I think about it, I’m curious, and I wonder how the saltiness idea connects with the counting the cost of being his disciple idea.

I looked up salt in some of my resources and here are some interesting things I found out about it:

Salt brings out flavor in otherwise bland foods—of course, we knew this already. Anybody who has ever made real pancakes or biscuits (not Bisquick) and left out the salt can attest to this fact.

Salt is used as a preservative. Meat cured in salt doesn’t have to be refrigerated—think country ham. (By the way, how does anybody eat that stuff? Yuck!)

Salty ground is infertile; no vegetation grows around the Dead Sea (hence the name). In the bible, salt was sown on people’s land to render it infertile.

Salt was rubbed on newborn babies. I imagine this acts as a cleansing agent and kills germs. Some cultures still do this.

Salt was always offered with sacrifices. I’m guessing this was symbolic of purity and lack of decay (the preservative quality), but I’ll bet on days when there were a lot of offerings to “process,” the salt kept the sacrifices fresh.

Salt was symbolic of covenants.

Salt was a valuable commodity. Roman soldiers were often paid in salt—hence the saying “not worth his salt.”

Some of the salt that was found near the Dead Sea was like rock salt but it was sometimes impure because it was subject to the elements and the outer layer of it was flavorless.

Now what do we do with this information? If we are disciples of Jesus, we are called to be the salt of the earth. How do the qualities of salt come into play in our lives? If salt is a preservative, we must be a preservative of sorts. Our world is in a state of moral decay, so we are the part of the world that is not decaying, the part that is staying pure. Salt brings out flavor, so we should bring “flavor” to the world. The lives of Jesus’ disciples should be a different flavor from the lives of other people—we should live differently. And I think we should also bring flavor to bland situations—I’m thinking of those types of Christians who are afraid to have any fun.

Now I’m wondering about the salty, infertile ground part. Is there such a thing as being a too salty disciple? Maybe we can become so fanatical that we turn people off instead of attracting them. I don’t know.

Being sick with this sinus infection gave me another thought about it. Just like I can’t taste anything that isn’t good and salty while I’m sick, people who are spiritually sick need a good salty person to help them along their journey of getting better.

OK, my brain is hurting now, and I’m not sure that I’m making any sense here. Perhaps you can add some thoughts about how to be a good, salty disciple.


jettybetty said...

I think one interesting thing about salt is that it doesn't get to say where it is used--salt doesn't get to look at it's owner and say--I will do french fries--but I won't do brussels sprouts. Where salt is used is 100% decided by it's "owner".

Hope you are feeling better soon!!! Sinus infections can be nasty.


Tony Arnold said...

I really love your analogies taken from our everyday lives.


Bar Bar A said...

I hope you are feeling better! I liked reading about salt. I think I have to agree that in some cases people can be over-salted in their approach at witnessing to others. Too much salt can ruin a good thing.

Praying for you!

JMG said...

I'm feeling better but can't shake this congestion. Thank you for the prayers, and keep it up!

jettybetty said...

I just got my book. (I used and it takes longer) It looks excellent--I can hardly wait to get started.

Hope you can shake the congestion, soon!!!

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

Sorry to hear about your sinus infection. Sometimes I find that it helps to put 3-4 vitamin C pills in my water bowl for a few days. It gives the immune system a jolt. That and plenty of rawhide.

Ayatollah Mugsy said...
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