NaCl

“I think that’s enough salt.”

My eyes widened as Cole inverted the restaurant salt shaker and poured. A shower of shiny white sprinkles fell over his French fries until a coating of salt covered each and every fry.

“But I like them super salty.” My older son trailed his finger along the edge of the plate, licking his fingertip and looking at me in his big-eyed, curious way.

As a mom, I grab onto teachable moments like Frodo grabbed onto the precious gold ring in Tolkien’s classics, and I launched into a ‘why-we-don’t-use-too-much -salt’ speech to my 7 year old. Because high blood pressure isn’t currently in Cole’s realm of reality, his eyes glassed over like salty ocean water during my one-minute discourse on healthy eating habits.

About a year ago Cole noticed one of his cousins putting salt over their fries, and since then he’s had a love affair with the salt shakers at restaurants. As I watched him move the salt and pepper shakers around the table like chess pieces, I thought of the verse in Matthew’s gospel about salt.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

~ Matthew 5:13

 

After teaching the Beatitudes, Jesus followed his mountaintop sermon with a call for His followers to be “the salt of the earth.” As I looked at my son’s salty French fries, I wondered about Jesus’ words to the multitudes surrounding Him that day.

Was my life as well-seasoned as my son’s dinner? And how can I stay ‘salty’ for Jesus?

Curious, I looked salt up on the internet. What I found was intriguing.

Salt is a crystalline compound considered one of the oldest and most common seasonings for food. It’s made up of Sodium Chloride, a chemical known as NaCl on the periodic table and in chemistry circles. Salt is a natural preservative for food, and saltiness is one of four basic tastes, along with bitter, sour, and sweet.

Most interesting of all, the reason salt is so effective for preserving food – meat in particular – is because it has natural antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. Salt draws water out of bacteria, which keeps it from reproducing in the food.

Bacteria and fungi – the bad stuff we don’t want in our food – can’t survive in a highly salty environment. They’re essentially dehydrated and rendered ineffective under the onslaught of Sodium Chloride ions.

In a very real way Christ-followers are Sodium Chloride ions. We’re seasoned with our Savior’s love and grace, and we’re called to live in a way that reflects and draws others to our Savior’s perfect flavor. 

Because God’s sinless Son provides a spiritual dehydrator for sin, it’s a necessity that we share Him with others. Jesus stops the growth of soul-damaging bacteria and the worldly fungus that can take over our lives. 

He is the ultimate life preservative. 

In order to stay salty for our Savior we have to re-season ourselves through the Bible and daily prayer. After all, if we want a pleasing, eternally-focused flavor in our lives, God’s word should be the cookbook we consult every day.

How seasoned should our lives be? I believe a light, consistent coating with Jesus’ love, grace, forgiveness, and Truth offers the most delicious taste. It will set us apart without adding the bitter taste of pride. Pouring a heavy coating of salt over our lives leads to judgment of others and self-righteousness, which have nothing to do with Jesus.

We’re effective salt-shakers for our Savior when we have a gentle sprinkling of spiritual salt in our lives, enough to dehydrate the sin in our own lives and add a pleasant seasoning to those around us whose lives are bland and tasteless without Him. 

 

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each other. ~ Colossians 4:6

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