“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 by men.” Matthew 5:13
Some years back my husband told me he desired to learn to cook. Being a meal planner, I penned him in for every Saturday night on the calendar. His dream included long gourmet meals that took hours of prep work. He would begin each Saturday morning shopping and then spend all afternoon preparing a feast. He blew our grocery budget time after time with fancy food, even plating them so that they were magazine worthy.
My husband was eager to share his accomplishments by posting the pictures with descriptions on Facebook. Saturday evenings became the event. People talked about it all the time. Though through the years he has become more budget friendly with his cuisine, his passion hasn’t tamed. Most Saturdays he composes healthy, appetizing and creative cuisines (with opera playing in the background), beautifully prepared primarily because he expressed an interest, was given opportunity and then took action.
One of the things my husband has had to master as Saturday Night Chef (as we now call him) was the art of adding spices and salt. Flavors that would complement the vegetables and meats. He quickly learned salt helps bring out the flavor of food; but, too much can ruin a meal. And too little – blah! The balance of seasoning in food preparation is a skill that is learned through hours of experimenting with food.
I think about my husband’s salting experiments when I think of the verse, Matthew 5:13. “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 by men.”
When my kids were younger, I volunteered eagerly in a bunch of children’s ministry opportunities within my church. I was excited to teach Bible stories, share about growing with Christ, encourage kids and create crafts galore. However, my service beyond church waned. Once I was asked to serve on a committee with a woman who knew what being salt of the earth really meant. While I was eager to serve God in church where it was easy to serve, going out beyond church walls was really difficult for me (in fact, I still struggle).
One day my friend from the committee talked to me about a teen girl who was having trouble with lice. This girl’s family would come to receive food from a local food kitchen where my friend volunteered. This beautiful family of ten had arrived in our area moving into a two bedroom apartment. They showered at a local truck stop, due to inadequate plumbing. Lice was everywhere.
The word “lice” makes a person squirm. Doesn’t it? However, I have a strong compassion for girls from the tween age through college. I just love them all. Always have. I felt like I was supposed to do something to help. As it happened, my kids had been through three months of getting rid of lice. I could recite what CDC said about how to get rid of the critters. I had been initiated by the irritants, tried all the market products, learned that heat helped destroy them, etc. Lice was something I knew. So I purchased enough product for this girl’s family to go through two treatments and wrote down instructions on how to get rid of lice with copies from the CDC.
The Sunday I showed up to church to give my friend the package of product, she looked at me and said, “We are going over there at two. Why don’t you come and help?” To which I replied, “I have a family obligation.”
Truthfully, I did have plans, but they could’ve been changed. I was scared to go help this young lady and it had nothing to do with lice. I was scared of stepping out of my comfort zone. Lame, right? But that is the truth of the matter. I was prepared to be salt for Christ if I could stay safe behind church walls, but I was not prepared to be salt for Christ where He needed me to be.
God called me on my action (or in this case, lack of action). A couple of weeks later while on a walk, I felt God speaking to me asking me if I really believed in Him. I felt His Spirit like never before asking me to stop in the middle of the sidewalk in my neighborhood at 6 am to get down on my knees and submit as an act of obedience. Awkwardly, on my knees I asked for forgiveness on not responding to His call to action.
I would love to say that I was brave from that point on, however, that would be a lie. I’m still a scaredy-cat. Timid as they come. But each time I step out of my box, as the cliché says, it gets a little easier. I have been through years of making progress. Seldom are my steps very graceful. I stumble, saying the wrong things, awkwardly trying to do what God is asking. In fact, even when I was called to go to Africa with my husband, I went as a frightened woman attempting to walk in obedience crying most nights trying to surrender my inadequacies. Trying to be salt, I’d question how flavorful I was. With each step of obedience, I learned over and over again, walking in obedience was all God was asking. As I left my salt, He was more than willing to work through the delivery.
Like my husband mastering cooking with seasoning, I too am learning to master salt. By being salt in service. I don’t want to hide in fear any longer. My desire in salting is to step beyond my safety net and into the service of the one true Master, contributing flavor to more than just those who already seek His presence. Always, ever so grateful, for the moments of success.