1 tsp salt
Have you ever smelled a loaf of fresh bread baking in the oven? It’s a warm and cozy kind of smell. It’s the kind of smell that can fill the whole house.
Fresh bread tastes delightful, too. My dad makes sourdough bread from a fermented dough starter. He’s been doing it for as long as I can remember, probably since before I was born. And our family and friends love when he shares – which is often. It’s simply delicious.
That is, unless he forgets to add the salt.
It only takes about a teaspoon of salt in a recipe for two loaves, but that little bit makes a big difference. Every now and then he would leave it out, and we’d grimace as we took the first bite. It wasn’t inedible. But it needed a lot of extra butter or jelly to make it go down easier.
I think about my dad’s bread every time I read the passage from the gospel of Matthew where Jesus tells the crowd, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” It gives meaning to that metaphor.
For one thing, it becomes an affirming and empowering statement: You are salt. The world would be a lot blander if you were not in it. Just a little bit of you can make a big difference in this world.
It also becomes a challenge that Jesus has extended to all of us: You are salt. Don’t waste that opportunity. Don’t leave the world disappointed, underwhelmed, and wanting more. Use your time and energy to enhance the lives of the people around you.
Salt isn’t much on its own. It merely brings out flavors that are already there. But those are flavors that go unnoticed if the salt is missing. In the same way, perhaps some of our simple actions can bring out the exceptional richness of God’s love in the world around us. The love is already there. But Jesus invites us to put just a pinch of ourselves into the lives of others to make it even better.
Well, now that your mouth is probably watering – go in peace and be salty.
-Josh Kestner, pastor in residence