Season with Grace as Salt of the Earth | March 20th, 2017
A few months ago, my mother-in-law was in town over the holidays for a visit. She loves shopping on Main Street of quaint little towns in Texas as much as I do. So this visit, my husband and I chose to take her to the historic square in downtown McKinney.
They have darling boutiques, charming cafes, and even a few antique shops.
We spent the day hunting for unique finds and, as always, discovering a few items we could never live without.
On our way back to the car, we spotted one final shop to browse – an antique store filled with my favorite kind of treasure…vintage costume jewelry. A woman greeted me at the door who instantly recognized me and said, “You’re the girl who repurposes vintage jewelry!”
She introduced herself and said she used to be one of the antique dealers who sold vintage jewelry to me for repurposing at one of the local monthly antique shows. It had been quite a while since I had attended one of those shows, so I didn’t recognize her right away. She now had her very own antique store with even more jewelry than she could have ever had at her small booth. I couldn’t wait to see it all!
She led me to each of her prized glass cases, unlocking them one at a time so I could get a closer look at everything. One of the first pieces of jewelry I spotted was a fabulous aquamarine rhinestone ring from the 1960s era.
I thought to myself, What are the chances it would actually fit my finger? I tried it on and to my amazement, it fit perfectly! That was one piece of jewelry definitely coming home with me.
Aquamarine is March’s traditional birthstone whose name comes from the Latin aqua marina meaning “water of the sea.” The pale blue color of the gemstone looks like the ocean which is how it got its name.
This transparent crystal is a member of the beryl family. Pure beryl is colorless, but it is often tinted by impurities (iron oxides) which add color such as green, blue, yellow, red, and white.
Aquamarine, the blue version, has been discovered in the U.S. in Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho. There are mines in Brazil, Colombia, and throughout Africa that produce aquamarine. The largest aquamarine of gemstone quality ever mined was found in 1910 in Brazil weighing over 240 pounds!
Salt of the Earth
Within the ocean, aqua marina, we find the salt of the earth. Approximately 3.5% of the weight of seawater comes from dissolved salts (sodium chloride). To get a better idea of how much that is, in a cubic mile of seawater, the weight of the salt would be about 120 million tons.
By some estimates, if the salt in the ocean could be extracted and spread evenly over the land surface of the earth, it would form a layer greater than 500 feet thick – the height of a 40-story office building!
Salt deposits at the Dead Sea in Israel
Did you know we are also called to be the salt of the earth?
Jesus taught his disciples saying:
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Matthew 5:13
The Purposes of Salt
Before the days of refrigeration, salt had two purposes. One was for preserving food because it absorbed water, keeping bacteria from multiplying. The other was to enhance flavor. When adding salt to foods, it reduces our perception of bitterness. As bitterness is reduced, it increases the salty taste along with our perception of the other flavors we can detect which include sweet, sour, and umami (savory).
I remember when I was very young, I would take a walk in our big backyard toward the apple trees with my Uncle Lance whenever he came for a visit. We carried our own salt shakers with us and stood there next to each other, taking a big bite out of our freshly picked green apples. But not before we sprinkled a little salt on them.
Somehow, that salt made the bitterness go away. It was a heavenly, sweet taste instead. If it was not for the cores, we would have lost count of how many apples we ate!
Both purposes – preserving food and enhancing flavor – were essential, making salt a valuable commodity. The word salary actually comes from an ancient word meaning “salt money.”
At one time, soldiers in the Roman army were given a sum of money to buy salt for themselves. The Latin word for “salt” was sal. The “salt money” given to the soldiers was called salarium which was later used as the term for their regular salary. And that is where the English word salary comes from.
Season with Grace
As followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to preserve truth and goodness in a world that is corrupt and immoral, blatantly turning away from God’s laws. Like salt, our role in the world is very valuable. We are to create a positive impact on those around us, seasoning them with grace to enhance the flavor of life in this world.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
When God gives us grace, He is giving us what we do not deserve. As sinners, we deserve eternal punishment but God graciously sent His Son to die for us so we can have eternal life when we accept Him as our Savior. Showing grace to others is showing kindness to them even when we do not think they deserve it.
In order to be able to show grace (which does not come naturally to anyone), you must first go through a transformation of the heart, being open to letting God change you to be more like Him.
How do you know where you need change?
The more you get to know God by spending time with Him reading His Word, the easier it will be to hear His voice when He is speaking to you about areas of your life that need change. The more you know Him, the greater your desire will be to please Him.
Once your heart is transformed, you will have a renewed way of thinking and an eagerness to show grace to others as God would want you to do. That is what being “the salt of the earth” is all about.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Just as salt loses its flavor when diluted with water, you can lose your pungency as the salt of the earth if you become watered down when conforming to the world and do not have grace.
There are several ways to exhibit grace from a transformed heart…
Attitude of Humility
You must have an attitude of humility, putting others’ interests before your own. We are naturally selfish and want to do what we want to do without giving a second thought about the other person. But if we are to show grace, we must put others’ interests first.
One way to do this is to ask people meaningful questions so you can learn about them. Allow them to talk about themselves and then be sincerely interested in their response.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
The words you speak come straight from the heart. If your heart has been transformed, it will be much easier to respond with words that are kind and gentle. You are showing grace through your words, especially when it seems undeserved.
For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. Matthew 12:34b
A Thankful Heart
It costs nothing to say “thank you” but it shows others a heart of gratitude and grace. Sending a card in the mail that expresses your thankfulness does not take much time but can mean so much to the person receiving it.
Being thankful reminds us that God is our Provider and the Giver of all good gifts. He never intended for you to be fully self-sufficient in this life. Having a thankful heart reminds you that every good gift you receive is from Him.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
If you know someone who is going through physical or emotional pain, show grace by taking time to be with them, demonstrating love simply with your presence. This can create deep healing in others in ways you may never comprehend.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
When a person asks you for forgiveness, accept their apology with grace. They are humbling themselves so it is important to show grace and let them know you completely forgive them. Even when they do not ask for forgiveness, give it to them anyway. Grace can help so much with repairing a relationship when you respond in a loving way.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Showing grace allows you to keep your testimony strong as a follower of Christ, seasoning the lives of everyone with whom God crosses your path. If you lose your testimony and become bitter in your heart, you lose your saltiness. And salt without saltiness, as Jesus said, “is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
Becoming the salt of the earth begins with a transformed heart, a vital necessity for you to be able to be used by God for enhancing flavor in the lives of those you touch as you season them with grace – the kind of undeserved, endless, and amazing grace God gives you!
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you find it difficult to season others with grace, ask God to transform your heart so you can have a renewed way of thinking and a desire to be more like Christ as the salt of the earth.
Sparkler #2: Action
Find a way to show grace to someone this week by putting their interests before your own, speaking kind words even when they seem undeserved, expressing thankfulness, being present for someone who is hurting, or forgiving a person who has wronged you.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Examine your heart closely to see if you are harboring any bitterness in it. If so, release it to God completely so you can restore your saltiness and testimony as a follower of Christ.
*Aquamarine – photo credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com
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