The other night, I decided to try out a new recipe: pasta with alfredo sauce, topped with blackened lemon-pepper chicken. It smelled absolutely wonderful. The whole time I was cooking, mine and my husband’s mouths were watering. We couldn’t wait to taste it!
I followed the recipe exactly, but the first taste was terribly anticlimactic. All those wonderful scents that were filling the house seemed to disappear when they hit our taste buds—it was so bland. We could taste nothing of what we were smelling.
To try to make it a tad bit more interesting, I sprinkled some salt on mine. Voila! It was like magic! That little bit of salt brought out every ounce of flavor in that dish. I couldn’t taste the salt at all, but the cheese and lemon and spices from the dish just exploded on my tongue. My husband was equally surprised and delighted when I shared the wondrous discovery with him.
After thoroughly enjoying the meal and reflecting on the experience, it reminded me of Matthew 5:13, where Jesus said we are to be salt and light to the world. The imagery of light is one anyone can understand, but I must admit I’ve always been a little confused about the comparison to salt. Especially in this culture. Salt is kind of a bad thing. It raises your cholesterol, gives you high blood pressure, and contributes to heart attacks, right?
So, after talking to my Sunday School teacher as a kid, I just kind of went with the whole “preservation” route. They didn’t have a whole lot of options for storing meat back in Jesus’ day, so they cured it and salted it so it would stay good and edible. And we’re kind of supposed to preserve people by leading them to God. And that worked for me.
But now I’ve discovered that simple salt can be an amazing, transforming thing! It doesn’t overpower things with its saltiness but simply brings out all of the good that’s already there. It opens your eyes (taste buds . . . whatever) to the goodness you always smelled hints of but couldn’t quite find out how to get to. Our job isn’t to smother people in God—it’s to open them up to His presence so they can experience the full extent of His goodness.