I recently had the opportunity to descend 650 feet into the earth for a tour of a salt mine. We saw a chunk of 99% pure salt, glimmering in the light, almost see-through. There were boulders of salt cut out of the cavern, only 4’ across, and weighing many tons. I couldn’t resist going up to one and licking it. This particular mine covers miles, and is still active today. You wouldn’t think salt would be so interesting, but I was blown away by some of the things I learned. It got me to thinking about Jesus’ description of His children as “the salt of the earth”. What does this actually mean?
Salt – What Can a Lowly Mineral Teach us about Living for Jesus? No. 3: Salt Preserves
My favorite attribute of salt is its ability to preserve. My fascination with this quality was heightened by a recent trip into Hutchinson Kansas’ salt mine, where one whole section of the museum as dedicated to information about salt’s amazing ability to preserve. It is common knowledge that salt is a food preserver (think of salt-cured hams, one of the few ways to keep meat before refrigeration), but did you know that it is also a preserver of paper and other materials? Sections of the Kansas salt mine are used by Underground Vaults & Storage to store everything from Hollywood original prints, movie cuts, and costumes, to hospital records, to secret government information. Located 650 underground in a previously mined section of the salt vein, the huge vault stays a steady 68 degrees and 45% humidity year-round; ideal conditions for storing materials.
On our tour of the salt mine, in addition to historical treasures, we saw pieces of trash – a banana peel, a magazine, a gum wrapper, even half a sandwich – dropped by miners several decades ago, and preserved in almost perfect detail. This amazing benefit of the mineral, temperature, and humidity means that both national treasure and your Big Mac wrapper can be preserved for centuries.
If “you are the salt of the earth”, part of our identity is “preservationist”. Like salt, we store and protect things. We hold beliefs, traditions, habits, and attitudes, passing them on to those around us. It is sobering to me to realize that I have a commissioned role in the values that are preserved and transferred to the next generation to experience and examine and claim. It is not a question of if we are preserving something, but what. If I look into the vault of my inner soul, what things do I find preserved there? What values am I holding onto and passing on to others?
And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NLT)
The Lord knows the days of the upright and blameless, and their heritage will abide forever. (Psalm 37:18 AMP)
Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jer. 6:16, NIV)
This guest post is written by Rae Schrock, Editor in Chief of Daughters of Promise Magazine. This article first appeared on the Daughters of Promise blog. The third in a series of four, it is used with permission. For more information about the magazine, click here.