The Saltiness of Salt

Today, most folks identify salt as seasoning for food. Salt has a second use: It melts ice. Many municipalities that are subject to harsh winter weather, store mounds of salt to cast onto roads and sidewalks to make travel safer.

Salt was universally used as a preservative of meats, to delay spoilage. This use of salt is rarely practiced today, except in poor, isolated regions that have no electricity or other power to apply refrigeration.

As for seasoning, because salt excites certain areas of taste buds on our tongues, saltiness appears to bring out, or enhance the flavor of food. Food manufacturers, ever quick to promote their products the best way they can (by taste) put much salt into their processed food products. Pronouncements have been made by nutritionists on what is the daily recommended amount of salt that humans should consume. The abundance of salt in processed food that we eat counts heavily against that recommended number.

Thus, we are bombarded with the message, “Americans eat too much salt.” Yet, salt is considered an essential ingredient in humans. A certain amount of it is in our makeup, and mostly, we get the salt we need by eating natural food, which also has a certain amount of salt within. Our individual craving, or the habit of shaking salt onto our food, fuels the idea that we must be eating too much salt.

In ancient times of distant commerce by sea and by land (a caravan), salt was an easily portable and welcome spice sold in food markets. Salt enhances the flavor of the poorest and toughest meat or the blandest vegetable. Jesus knew salt and remarked on it in his ministry about God. Web search two verses: Matthew 5:13 (written by Jesus’ disciple, Matthew) and Mark 9:50 (written by the Apostle, Mark). It is interesting to read both passages because Matthew was there with Jesus to describe this part of the famous “Sermon on the Mount.” Mark was not there, but he was a companion (understudy) of another disciple, Peter. He heard Peter preach the story about salt.

Many passages in the Bible are written as parables, simple stories that make the hearer think about what is the underlying message. You have to think about what is the message that Jesus sent when he spoke of salt. I can only tell you what I think, which is this: “Salt is a necessary ingredient and a valuable commodity. The message (to me) is that salt is a measure of us, our worth to God. While it is not possible for salt to lose its saltiness, if it happened, it would be useless. Therefore (to me) the message is a positive message to us that we should use our worth to honor God, to seek, and accept his grace, and to help others to do that. The negative message is that if we squander our worth to God, then we may become “unsalty,” of no value to him.”

The Christian Church comes to my mind. Once you understand that you can and should have a personal relationship with God, through Jesus, you should want to apply your understanding by cooperating with other Christians, to become “a light to the world,” which is what a Christian Church is supposed to provide. Web search one more verse: Matthew 5:14. Jesus said, “You (personally) are the light of the world.” He had just said, “You (personally) are the salt of the Earth.” I think he told us all that we have worth and that we are expected to apply that worth to God’s purpose for us all.

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