A Little Zing

August 7, 2016
by JJ Ollerenshaw

Luke 14:34-35 – What good is salt that has lost its saltiness? Flavorless salt is fit for nothing — not even for fertilizer. It is worthless and must be thrown out. Listen well, if you would understand my meaning. (TLB)

I often notice people adding salt to their meal without tasting it first to see if it needs a little extra flavour. They just assume that it will be bland. Today, if a certain dish tastes bland, we might say that it needs a little zing. But in ancient times, I understand that salt was used for a number of things besides making foods taste better, such as preserving meat. Men carried a small purse of salt on their belt, because of salt loss through sweating because of the heat. It was important to take extra salt, which stopped the muscles from cramping.

Salt was also used to make a covenant or contract. Each man took a pinch of salt and put it in the other's purse. It was then shaken to seal their agreement. The grains mingled with the rest of the salt and couldn't be taken back, signifying that the agreement was irreversible — the contract couldn't be broken. At weddings, the couple exchanged vows and salt. The grains couldn't be retrieved and the vows never broken. The salt was then placed in their home as a reminder. Contracts were often formed during a meal, which, of course, included salt.

Leviticus 2:13 – Every offering must be seasoned with salt, because the salt is a reminder of God's covenant. (TLB)

God's covenant, first made in the Old Testament, was a promise that He would bless those who obey Him. In the context of this verse, God is speaking about grain, flour, or bread offerings. It's interesting that in many languages the word for "salt" sounds similar to the word for "good", and throughout the Bible, we see plays on words like this. Salt also represents hospitality and wisdom.

Inferior salt was applied as fertilizer to the earth, but too much could make the earth sterile and useless for growing. The land around a captured city could be completely destroyed by adding salt to the ground, rendering it useless for growing crops.

Today, we use the expression "the salt of the earth" to describe someone who is down-to-earth and always helpful — someone who makes a difference. "Salty" people are those who speak their mind, and sometimes create a little disturbance by opening the eyes of others. Jesus requires us to flavour the world, to make it more palatable, to make it good. Are we salt for God? Have we become bland and lost our usefulness, or are we the salt of the earth?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, make us salt. We want to obey You, and to speak up for You. If we don't make a difference in this world, then we are worthless. Help us to add a little zing to the world. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie@yahoo.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Are you salt?


    May it be so JJ.


    What an interesting devotional. Thank you.’
    (Texas)


    Thanks for reminding us that we are the salt of the earth and precious in His sight.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for an interesting message. A pastor from my past always used the phrase “salt of the earth” in his weekly benediction when referring to our congregation.


    I loved your devotional!
    It was so informing, I knew little about the history of salt practices. I am sharing it with others.
    You’re the salt of earth.
    God Bless you and family.


    Hello J.J. Ollerenshaw,
    I just wanted to thank you for a well written, well thought out devotional, all that history/action/behaviour behind the use of salt.
    May God bless you and yours as you continue to minister to others through the writing of devotionals.


    Thank you for the well-seasoned devotional!
    God bless you.


    A thought-provoking and timely analogy – comparing God’s people to salt. There’s a lot of gloom in the world, causing despair, hopelessness, and meaninglessness. Our salty qualities bring a taste of hope and meaning in the gloom. That’s what the world needs.


    Dear JJ,
    You were on this track in a very much appreciated devotional.
    Keep writing.

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