Monday, May 11, 2009

A re-look at salt

Our pastor is preaching a series of sermons on the Beatitudes. Since our Life Group just finished a lesson series and had not yet decided on our next series, we (my co-teacher and I) decided to do a series on the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. I get to sit back and listen to my co-teacher on this one.

We began yesterday, looking at Matthew 5:13-16, the salt and light passage. This got me thinking about salt, and what its uses are:

- as a flavoring ingredient. Salt is the king of spices, the one we use too much of, but oh how good it tastes! I have a habit of shaking just a little too hard and a little too long. Supposedly salt brings out the natural flavor of the food, but I wouldn't swear to that. Obviously, too much salt makes for bad taste; too little salt makes for bland taste.

- as a preservative. Before refrigeration, salt was used often to preserve meats and other foods. In North Carolina, a friend of ours cured hams in his shed. The meat hung there in all seasons. He went out on a regular schedule and did his salt thing with the hams. We ate some at his house, and it was good, salty but still tasty. I'm sure there was a technique he knew about the right amount of salt to use. Too much would have made it unpalatable; too little would have allowed the meat to spoil.

- as a healing agent. Yes, despite the talk of "salt in the wound", salt actually has healing properties. On board navy vessels, when someone was flogged, the washed the wounds with salt water. That 3 percent salt solution helped the wounds heal. Many other uses of salt are documented. Now, if you put pure salt in the wounds, I imagine that would have a negative effect.

So in all of these, salt is most effective in a certain dose. Too little is ineffective; too much is either bad to taste or unhealthy.

Perhaps this should speak to us about our Christian walk and witness. Our walk has to be pure, but our witness does not have to be the entire salt shaker poured out on every person we come in contact with. The right amount of witness will be attractive, and will build the kingdom.

Or so it seems from my perspective.

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