Too Much Salt

admin By admin4 min read223 views

It was my fault. I decided to try making pancakes and misread the recipe. The difference between a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of salt is… profound. More than significant. My kids were hungry and enough syrup concealed the taste. Mostly. But we went through more syrup that morning than normal. A LOT more syrup.

Sadly, that wasn’t the only instance of over-salting that weekend. The kids love kale chips, and I do too. But granulated salt pours a lot faster than kosher salt. The chips were edible, but the saltiness had a bite to it that was just this side of being unpleasant.

Then there were the beans. Mary makes delicious refried beans. Most of the time. It was an accident. She apologized and didn’t know how it had happened. Too much salt. Some sour creme and salsa cut it down a bit, but we just couldn’t completely hide the power of the salt.

Mary and I laughed about how much salt we ate that weekend. Definitely not your daily recommended dose. Unless you’re a cow.

Why salt?

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” What does that mean? I’ve heard it said that He was talking about the preservative effects of salt. Before refrigeration, salt was used to preserve meat, olives, pickles, cabbage – all kinds of food.

But that’s a pretty utilitarian view of salt. Later in the same verse, Jesus refers to the taste salt adds. The right amount of salt makes food delicious! Too much is too much, but I’m not a fan of the low-salt french fry trend. I get it… some people can’t handle any salt. But unsalted fries taste terrible.

What if Jesus was talking about both of the effects of salt? Not only does the salt of the earth preserve the world from corruption, it also makes life delicious.

Christian cultures have produced some of the most beautiful art, music, and buildings in human history. And that doesn’t include the effect of God’s grace on relationships. My experience of Christian community is one of great joy. It makes sense because the God I serve is Love, and love is what relationships are all about.

Season to Taste

Yet, I think there’s such a thing as too much salt. When a Christian’s saltiness makes them sound like a scold or prude or someone afraid of everything, it just doesn’t pass the taste test. Non-Christians reject them and even other Christians might be turned off by them.

Scripture tells us, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” If our saltiness isn’t in good taste, then it’s not of the Lord.

In the world of evangelism, I think this translates to practicing the virtue of discretion. When I first experienced my conversion nearly twenty years ago, I was a little too salty. None of my friends from my pre-conversion days talk to me anymore. Not everybody can take a story about casting out demons and praying in tongues. You have to know your audience.

While not everyone can handle having their sins being called out in public or hearing about the more unusual manifestations of life in the Holy Spirit, genuine Christian charity is always in good taste.

The life of Jesus helps us to recognize the perfect amount of salt. He is gentle with the humble and a little more salty with the proud Pharisees. Not everyone could handle it. He often blew the pharisees’ blood pressure through the roof. But with the sick and the afflicted and those bound up in their sin, He loved them in a way that transformed their lives.

Take His encounter with Zacchaeus, the tax collector who climbed up in the tree. The gospel doesn’t tell us about Jesus lecturing Zacchaeus about the demands of justice and GAAP accounting. Instead, He calls him by name and asks him for dinner. The love that Zacchaeus experienced during that encounter changed his life forever. He tasted and saw that the Lord was good.

Break Out the Cookbook

God is so generous that He doesn’t want us to think there’s only one way to practice loving our neighbor. We might make the excuse, “Jesus was God and I am not, so I don’t have to try to love people like that.”

Throughout the ages, the lives of the saints are held up by the Church as recipes that we can follow. There are dishes for every occasion. If we find ourselves in a time of religious persecution, we can look to the lives of the martyrs for a recipe heavy on meekness and courage. We can look to the lives of the servants of the poor for inspiration on how to serve people in crisis. Saints who wrote on the spiritual life show us that prayer is the ingredient that provides balance and harmony to the other parts of our lives.

Today is Father’s Day. I decided to make crepes because they are a household favorite. I have a recipe I trust that makes fabulous crepes. 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder as leaven, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and 4 cups of flour. I think the proportions are telling. Way more flour and even sugar than salt.

I’ve been making crepes for several years now. I know what I’m doing, so they turned out perfect. My first-ever batch didn’t turn out so great. But this is why food is a great metaphor for the spiritual life. You get lots of chances. Your cooking can improve with time if you so desire. So can your spiritual life. So can your ability to love.

If your life has too much salt, or too little, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Our Master Chef waits for you to ask Him to turn you into a culinary masterpiece.

Jesus snatched me out of the darkness and saved me from complete madness. If you want to hear more of that story, check out Demoniac, now available on Amazon.


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