Fire and Salt

“Everyone will be salted with fire” (Mark 9:49).

I like salt.  Perhaps too much.  I’ve been known to salt my food before tasting it – a real faux pas in a fine restaurant and an (unintended on my part) insult to the chief.  Salt gives bland food flavor.  It can also act as a preservative and (according to Reader’s Digest) it can remove wine stains from carpet, deodorize sneakers, relieve the itching of mosquito bites and poison ivy, extinguish grease fires, rid gardens of weeds, snails and slugs, freshen breath and get rid of dandruff.

In the ancient world, salt was considered so valuable that it was often used as a synonym for wisdom.  Paul uses it this way in Colossians 3:6 when he says “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt [wisdom].”

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all preserve Jesus’ remarks about salt and the warning that if salt loses its saltiness, it is worthless.  The fact is though,  salt cannot be made less salty.  Salt is salt.

However, when salt is mixed with something else, it takes more of it to do the job and if it is mixed with the wrong thing (virtually anything), it becomes not only less salty, but worthless.  Who would want to use salt that had been mixed with dirt?

Only Mark records Jesus’ words “Everyone will be salted with fire.”  His point is this: Life is full of trials.  Some of them God deliberately sends our way to teach us, mold us, make us better.  But will God succeed?  Not if we don’t learn from them, not if we don’t take those lessons to heart, and not if we forget the lessons we learn.  In each case, this divine salt of our lives becomes worthless.  God doesn’t send every trial we face, but he intends every trial to make us better.  Let’s not waste the opportunity.

Comments are closed.