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
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 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. Colossians 4:2-6
Salt is a unique ingredient. Just the right amount of it and the dish becomes more flavourful and tasty. Not enough of it, and there is something missing. Too much of it and it’s awful.
Years ago, my family sat down to waffles and pudding. The waffles were great, the pudding wasn’t right at all. Everything looked right until you tasted it. Instead of sugar, the sweetening ingredient in the pudding, salt had been substituted. The salt cellar had been mistaken for the sugar bowl and the pudding was absolutely ruined. It didn’t matter how much sugar was added in, there was no rescue to be had. A new batch of pudding was the only solution.
Salt is also an amazing preservative. I toured a traditional cod fishery in Newfoundland where they were salting and drying the split open cod on racks. The amount of salt it took to completely dry the cod was impressive. Once they were dry, the hard as nails cod could be stacked and stored for the winter. But to use the dried cod for a meal, it had to be soaked for a day almost two in order to get all of the salt out. If you didn’t soak the cod for long enough, it would definitely not taste right.
Salt produces thirstiness. Given more salt than usual, the natural reaction is to consume liquid in order to restore the balance.
So as I rub shoulders with people, are my words tempered with salt? Are they words that lead to questions and conversations? Are they words that result in new depths of understanding? Are my words judgemental and harsh or do they promote friendship and a desire to build community? Am I salty? Do people who spend time with me long for the living water that only Jesus can pour into their lives?
Grace must accompany all of this saltiness. There is nothing worse than the sandpaper person who simply rubs you raw. Too often the relationship is damaged, sometimes permanently, because the words were ones that produced frustration and hurt rather than a drawing near. If I am not careful, I can be the sandpaper person. I pray for words that will draw people in. Words that will welcome them with the hope and fulfilment of a life with Jesus.
This Advent season, I hope and pray that I will be salty. That the conversations I have with others will cause them to feel thirsty for Jesus. That He will be found by them because His Living Water quenches the thirsts of their hearts.