Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sodium Chloride of the Earth

You are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13 NIV

Salt has many uses, some of which are flavoring, thawing, abrasiveness, preservation, buoyancy, cleansing, corrosion, and medicinal. Salt was an essential part of the Old Testament sacrificial system. It was one of the currencies by which the Roman army was paid ("salary").

I walked into the Dead Sea with flip-flops and lost my footing as they kept pushing to the surface against my will. You can’t help but float in the strong salt brine. Don’t splash, either, as the brine will sting your eyes and lips.

Many roadwork crews use salt on highways both for thawing the ice and providing traction, but that salt prevents or kills plant growth along the highways, and it corrodes vehicles.

For thousands of years, salt has been a preservative for food, including meats, fish, olives, and pickles. It provides the fizz in soda pop, speeds the process in the ice cream churn, and scrubs the grime off whatever it’s applied to. Baking soda absorbs odors.

Our bodies need salt to prevent dehydration. When I worked in hot and windy Jordan on an archaeology dig, I was encouraged to eat more salt than usual. But too much salt will cause water retention, which is not good for blood pressure or injured areas. Some medications and sport drinks are compounded with salts to efficiently disperse in our tissues.

We mostly think of salt as a flavoring. It enhances the flavor of herbs, vegetables, nuts, meats, and especially meat substitutes. Imagine Chinese food without salty soy sauce. Some foods are unthinkable without salt. Tofu, gluten, popcorn, and potato chips would be tasteless without salt, fit mostly for mail packaging!

Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 MSG, Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?

Do you see the yin-yang here? There needs to be balance. Without you and me, the salt of the earth, restoring balance, people of the world know only bland and boring. I’d quite like to be in God’s salt shaker in Today’s Special!

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