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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A little salt makes things a whole lot better

Salt does more than season our foods and preserve them for a shelf-life which ensures we have stores of food for the upcoming needs of our families.  Salt is one of the basic "ingredients" of our cellular system and without it we experience quite an imbalance in our physical bodies.  Since sodium (salt) attracts and "holds" water wherever it is, a certain amount of it must be circulating around our bloodstream in order for us to maintain what we might refer to as a "healthy blood pressure".  Too little can actually cause the blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels and result in serious complications. Our nerve pathways are also highly regulated by the right amount of positively and negatively charged particles in our body at any one time - sodium being one of those things which carries a "charge" to help with nerve conduction.  Along with these attributes of this important substance in our bodies, we can thank sodium for helping to bring things in and out of our cells, for wherever sodium goes, other substances contained in the fluids which are attracted to sodium follow, making the work of sodium kind of like creating a series of roadways within our body for things to pass through.  As important as sodium is to our physical bodies and in the preservation of food items, it also has some negative effects.  Too much of it and we get bloated, retaining too much fluid, and struggling to maintain a safe blood pressure; or we find our bone density begins to decrease, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis.  There must be a balance within our bodies of all the things we need for health.  In a spiritual sense, we need to be aware when our lives become too much one way or the other - getting too lenient in our beliefs, or too broad.  Either "imbalance" can lead us into places of compromise, or an unforgiving lack of grace in our lives.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, it cannot be made salty again. Salt is useless if it loses its salty taste. It will be thrown out where people will just walk on it. “You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 ERV)

As the salt of the earth, we have the mission of being the pathway by which the message of Christ's love and his offered grace is brought to those who need this "richness" in their lives.  Without us doing our part as messengers of this grace, the pathways become blocked in our society to the truth we have to offer. Become unconcerned or unaffected by what the world is embracing as "truth" and we will be allowing the "pressure" of our society to reach "unhealthy" levels of compromise.  Doctors will be the first to explain the importance of giving a "bolus" of saline fluids to a patient who is suffering from severe dehydration. They immediately need to restore not only the depleted fluids, but the "electrolytes" (one of which is sodium).  In fairly quick order, the body begins to respond to the "influx" of the sodium and fluid, "righting" the balance of fluid in the bloodstream and cells.  Our testimony in a world which has become "dehydrated" by the many messages of truth heard from every street corner, media outlet, and podium today is essential to maintaining "balance".

One thing to note is the action of sodium - it doesn't really get noticed until it is missing from something!  My grandmother suffered from congestive heart failure, resulting in her doctor restricting the amount of salt she could consume in her diet.  She couldn't have too much or her heart would be put under too much pressure - and a weak heart cannot stand to be under pressure too long. So we had sodium restricted diets, as well.  Yes, there was a salt shaker on the table and dad grabbed it up as soon as the food was placed in front of him.  At first, I couldn't have told you what was missing from the food, but as I got a little older, I recognized the salt as among the missing.  Let me be the first to tell you - food without ANY salt in it is just plain bland!  When salt is missing, you recognize it!  When we aren't being objects of God's grace in a hurting and confused world, the world recognizes it - although they may not be able to tell you what they are "missing", they do indeed recognize something is missing. 

Now, it is equally important to note the action of salt.  In food, it is easily dissolved and brings out the savor of the food item.  In sterile water, it is dissolved and becomes a life-saving fluid restoring balance to a body under assault from disease.  In eye drops, it brings about refreshment to eyes so dry and aching from the onslaught of external dust particles and allergens which enter into them.  Dissolved in water in a "neutral" balance, it can be the cleansing substance which washes away debris and makes a wound ready for healing.  In the right time and amount, salt plays an important part in soothing, refreshing, and even cleansing.  Since God calls us to be the salt of the earth, I think it is important we play our part in being that which brings refreshment, the soothing impartation of grace, and the gentle cleansing of sin's putrid festering.  Just sayin!