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? This month, I’ll be sharing four attributes of salt, and how they parallel to our spiritual life.
This guest post is written by Rae Schrock, Editor in Chief of Daughters of Promise Magazine. This article, the first in a series of four, is used with permission. For more information about the magazine, click here.
No. 1 – Salt Flavors
Unlike other seasonings which have a specific taste (think of curry or fennel), and which we add to food to imbibe that unique flavor into the dish, salt does not have a flavor. It is just…salty. So, if salt doesn’t have a flavor to impart, what is its purpose? To bring out the flavor that is already in the dish. Salt brings out the best in food, highlighting hidden flavors and teasing out subtle essences.
How does it work? If you think back to middle school biology, you’ll remember that our tastebuds detect five different flavors: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (savory flavor). By affecting the chemical compounds of food, salt reduces bitter flavors, which in turn enhances the others. Without the distracting bite of bitterness, the sweet and savory notes of a dish are elevated and the overall flavor of the food becomes vibrant.
Are you getting excited? Do you see a connection forming?
You are the salt of the earth. And when salt does what it is made to do, it brings out the flavor of everything into which it is mixed. But if the salt has lost its savor (if it refuses to do what it was made to do)…it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out. The purpose of salt is to enhance the flavor of something other than itself; salt that sits unopened in the cupboard is useless.
God created you to do what salt does. What flavors are you bringing out in the people with whom you mix? How are your words and actions reducing the tang of bitterness and drawing out the sweet and the savory in others? As I posed these questions to myself, I was convicted that many times, as salt in God’s salt-shaker, I have not covered bitterness but added to it. I have fed negativity through gossip, self-pity, or negative speech. I have put others down and failed to call out the best in them through honesty or kindness.
God calls us to be flavor-elevators, inviting others away from the easy – and overpowering – bite of life’s inevitable bitterness and into a symphony of Spirit-filled flavors: peace, joy, hope, contentment.
As God sprinkles and stirs you into the mix of your co-workers at work, your children at home, the checkout at Walmart, or the moms in the school pickup line, come with a cheerful, kind, and forgiving saltiness that brings out the best in those around you.