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October 28, 2015, 12:00 AM

A Matter of the Heart; Salty

     At the beginning of this week my lifetime friend Mr. Sinus Infection paid me a visit. It was the usual fever, body aches, skin pains, head pounding, and raw-meat throat misery that you can imagine. My sense of smell was greatly diminished, and as you learned in biology, the ability to taste is closely connected with the ability to smell. Needless to say, food was less than exciting. However, as tradition would have it, I knew some chicken broth would still be good when all else failed! As I took my first sip of steaming broth from the spoon, I was amazed at how wonderful it tasted when everything else was unimpressive and even undesirable altogether. Shane and I discussed it, and we speculated that the flavor that was so pungent that even in sickness I couldn't ignore was the salt in the broth. God immediately brought to my mind that I am the “salt of the earth” as it says in Matthew 5:13. That was a lot to contemplate.


What is salt like if I’m supposed to be like salt? Sodium (salt) has a couple of main purposes. One is to enhance certain flavors in food; the other is to preserve. First, I’ll address the enhancing. It may not be what you expect. There was a study done in 2001 by Keast, Beauchamp, and Breslin called  Suppression of Bitterness Using Sodium Salts. To be brief, it explains that bitterness suppresses other flavors: sweetness and sourness. Salt acts to suppress bitterness; so by suppressing bitterness with sodium, it allows a greater perception of sweet and sour. A culinary chef Helen Rennie on eloquently stated that, “Without salt, you are eating everything in black and white. With salt, you are eating in color.” Although there may be some scientific inaccuracies with that statement, I can see how with the previous scientific study, salt can make you taste life in color, bringing out the good flavors by holding the unappealing flavors at bay. It’s easy to make the correlation with our purpose as salty Christians in the world. Our job is to drive back the darkness (bitterness) and allow God’s light to shine and give life the meaning and “color” He intended (the good flavors).


     The second purpose of salt is to preserve. Salt has been used for centuries to keep food longer. How does it do that? Mickey Parish wrote an article in 2006 for Scientific America that explains that salt dehydrates (or draws the moisture out of) food. And how does that help? Moisture provides a bed for microbial growth. So as salt, you could say we need to preserve [or protect] God’s creation by removing Satan’s "mold"-inviting bed of ruin. He is constantly setting the stage to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10), and the growth proceeds from there. But if those invitations to not be in relationship with God are nipped in the bud through spiritual warfare, we can fight back the darkness. It is interesting how deep a person can delve into the analogy of being the “salt of the earth” from a single delicious sip of soup on a physically depressing day. God is so good to teach!


When God described an exponential growth of population in Hosea 1:10, He used the analogy that “Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore – too many to count!” It is interesting that we can go from a grain of sand in description, one of billions, that has little purpose to a Spirit-molded piece of salt that is so distinctive in its purpose and so valuable in carrying out God’s plan. So remember Mark 9:50 as you go about your daily affairs: “Salt is good for seasoning…You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” You can be the pungent taste, even in a fallen world with distorted perceptions (like my taste buds), that brings true life and good flavor the earth needs.

In Christ,

Cheryl Russell


12-14-2015 at 10:39 PM
Karen Schmidt
Thanks!!! Stirred my soul to remember why God put and leaves me here. Oh to be the salt of the earth.
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