Salty

Colossians 4

Saturday, August 27, 2022

We are commanded to be salty.  WAIT. Salty?  Maybe I should clarify.  We are not talking about salty sailors, that would use coarse language and tell crude jokes.  We are not talking about the 21st century definition of “salty”, meaning bitter or upset from embarrassment.  We are talking in terms of a tasty preservative that not only keeps eternally, but seasons our meats, cheeses, and daily bread.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” – Matthew 5:14

While salt is essential to carry out some of our basic metabolic processes,  in all honesty, I don’t think this is why we crave it.  We desire a dash here and there because it just makes every food a little better. Popcorn pops.  Steak Sizzles.  Chocolates Chimes. Even allegedly flavorless water tastes better with a little salt in it (that’s right those alkaline waters are, you guessed it, salt-enhanced). It is so magnificent that many of us commit a foodie faux pas and reach for salt before we even taste our food.  We can’t resist.  So how does this desire “to make it better” sneak its way into our subconscious?

Well, here’s the science (from a guy that taught a science class one time).  Salt is ionized, so it attracts the water particles and in turn, aromas in the air surrounding your food.  Also, salt stimulates the taste buds, waking them up, so it enhances the taste along your tongue.  Finally, salt even suppresses bitter and sour flavors by dulling their neural transmissions to the brain.  It is in these very ways we, too, can be salty.

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossian 4:5,6

1. Be gracious and attractive.  Christians wear the compassion of Christ when we accept his death on the cross as payment for our sin. We have nothing to boast about except for our Savior. While anyone could be watching us live on any given day, the sense of those on the outside are most heightened when they know they have wronged you, yet you forgive, when you experience great loss yet rejoice, and when you exceed all others but maintain humility, giving glory to God.  In these instances, we are to act to attract.

2. Be shrewd and stimulate discussion. While we may have specific rules or cultural norms at work, school, or the grocery store regarding the proselytization of those who are not like-minded, I truly believe people are far more ready to have conversations regarding their faith than we give them credit for.  What starts as a favor at the well, ends in a testimony about Jesus.  Likewise, when we hear hopelessness, desperation, anger, frustration, trial, it is time for a dash of salt.  “Tell me about faith.” “Is it okay if we pray together?” “Here’s what Jesus said about this.”

3. Suppress the bitter and the sour.  While the first two focus on what’s outside coming in, the bitter and the sour are rolling around on the inside. When we make it our purpose to be the light of Christ, we suppress our own desires to be recognized for our struggle by leaving them at the cross.  We dull our persecution by making it our testimony.  Our sickness and our pain are the platform to share faith. In this world, we will have trouble, but we can take heart! He has overcome it all.  Finally, in those moments when the bitter continues to bleed and the sour continues to seep, it is time for us to consult the Word of God and lean on someone else’s flavoring so we don’t lose our saltiness.

As you walk away from your home and step into the world, hear the coarseness and bemoaning of (the other type of) salty people.  What you may have found most irritating before is the sound of those who are looking for grace, wisdom, and relief from their struggle. Be ready with an answer.  Be ready to reach for the salt, so someone else can share in its eternal life.

-Aaron Winner

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Can you think of a specific time when you failed to “act to attract” or make the most of a salty opportunity with an outsider? Instead, your words, actions, and attitudes (or lack thereof) may have left behind a bad taste.
  2. Looking back, what could you have done differently?
  3. How can you make the most of the next opportunity?

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