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A pinch of salt

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While making a cheesecake for Valentine’s Day, I was surprised that the recipe called for 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Why salt, since it was such a small amount, I wondered. So, I did what we do when we have an odd question—I googled it. According to Baker Bettie’s website: “Baked goods made without salt will taste flat and boring. Salt enhances and balances flavors, especially sweetness. The proper amount of salt can take a mediocre recipe and make it outstanding.”

Salt’s crucial contribution to food may be why Jesus says his disciples are the “salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). But Jesus also warns that salt can lose its saltiness. “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other” (Mark 9:50, NLT).

Jesus says we add flavor and season the world  when we prioritize healthy relationships with other disciples.

How can salt become not salty? Thanks to another Google search I learned that while salt is a very stable substance and doesn’t lose its saltiness, additives do cause salt to lose its flavor. One thing Jesus cautions his followers to avoid is discord. Jesus says we add flavor and season the world when we prioritize healthy relationships with other disciples. That’s easier said than done. One commentator suggests the ancient salt vow can help us better understand these verses. If two people shared salt, they were bound to defend and support each other, even if they had been enemies. So, Jesus’ disciples should live out a similar commitment to each other.

A group of USMB pastors and ministry leaders had the opportunity to “share salt” as they listened to and heard from each other during the January vision summit on leadership development. Toward the end of the summit, one participant alluded to this quote from business author John Kador, “You don’t have to see eye-to-eye to walk hand-in-hand. You just have to want to go in the same direction.” In this situation the same direction was calling and equipping more pastors, church planters and missionaries.

When I think about our faith community, I know U.S. Mennonite Brethren are not going to agree with each other all the time and I doubt that we’re going to quickly change one another’s minds about how we view issues of the day. But we can join hands and commit to listening to one another and hearing each other out. We can give one another grace along with a pinch of salt.

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