Salt is such an important ingredient in food preparation that even the Bible records Job asking: "can flavorless food be eaten without salt?" (Job 6:6a). But even though salt is associated mainly with food in today's culture, it wasn't just about savoring and preserving food during the centuries the Bible was written. In the ancient world, covenants were confirmed with a meal and due to the preserving nature of salt, which was always present, it became a symbol of the covenant and its enduring nature. The expression, "the salt of the covenant of your God" which is found in the Law of Moses (Lev. 2:13), signifies the permanency of the covenant which God had established between Himself and Israel.
Every offering that was offered to God in the Tabernacle had to be seasoned with salt (Lev 2:13). This seemingly insignificant detail becomes increasingly significant when we realize that leaven, the symbol of sin and corruption in the Bible, was never allowed to be present in any of the offerings (Lev 2:11). For while the presence of salt served as a reminder of God's faithfulness and of His everlasting love for His people (Ps. 119:90; Jer. 31:3), the banishing of leaven was a symbol of how sin cannot exist in God's presence, for He is absolutely holy (Isa. 6:1-5).
We are called to offer our lives as living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1). But instead of sprinkling salt on ourselves, as the custom was in the Old Testament, Jesus told us to have it in ourselves.
"For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another." -Mark 9:49-50
In other words, we should have a preserving and purifying influence in ourselves (i.e. God's Word and an active pursuit of holy living), which hinders sin from rotting us inside out. As no sacrifice was allowed to be presented with leaven in the Old Covenant, neither should we add leaven to our sacrifice in the New Covenant and lead a life of open sin (1 John 3:9). Instead we should always confess our sins and forsake them (1 John 1:9). When we have salt in ourselves, then we can also truly be the salt of the world that Jesus said we ought to be and hinder the world from becoming completely corrupt due to sin (Matt 5:13).
But we have to take care that the salt that is in us doesn't lose its flavor. The salt that people used two thousand years ago was not the chemical compound of sodium and chloride (NaCl) that we use today. Instead it was gathered from veins or layers found in the earth and mixed with impurities. If the salt was exposed to natural elements such as rain, sun and air for an extensive period of time, it lost its flavor. The flavorless salt was good for nothing else but to be thrown on the streets where it destroyed all fertility. So instead of being a preserving agent, the salt became a destructive agent.
We have all heard of TV evangelists that have fallen into sin and caused Christianity to be mocked and despised by the world as hypocritical. Our sins may never be exposed before the whole world, but the danger of becoming a destructive influence is a very real one for every believer. Especially for the ones that spend a lot of time in an ungodly environment, such as a Christian chef in the secular cooking industry. To be like everyone else, instead of Jesus, is an ever-present temptation because it is easier to fit in if you sound and look like the rest of the world. But as you begin to compromise and forget to guard your heart, you'll become as useless for the Kingdom as the salt that has lost its flavor for cooking. Suddenly, one day you look, sound and even smell (perhaps due to excessive use of cigarettes and alcohol) like the rest of your co-workers instead of being pure and set apart. Everyone will notice the difference and instead of remaining a preserving influence at your workplace, you'll end up becoming a destructive influence as they watch your life and conclude that Christianity is nothing to pursue because it didn't really change your life after all.
Salt is a gift from God and as a Christian chef, you are able to fully appreciate the flavor it gives to the food you prepare. But it is more important to use the salt that you have in you than the salt that is in the shaker. While the salt we eat leaves our bodies without leaving a lasting effect (if used in proper quantities), the salt we have in us keeps our whole being pure by preserving us from the defiling influence of sin: "Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness [and] blasphemies" (Matt. 15:17-19). Keeping yourself pure is not only for your own benefit, but also for the benefit of those who watch you secretly but carefully at work, listening to every word you say. So, remember to "take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Tim. 4:16). And don't forget to "let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Col. 4:6).
If you remain a preserving influence at your work, you may find out, on the day that all secrets are revealed (1 Cor. 3:13), that it was your example that led one of your co-workers to Jesus. And that will be the day you'll be very glad you did.
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