Salt (by Len Winneroski)

salt-shaker-1463018-300x226Being a scientist is a blessing and a curse. For instance, have you ever thought about why salt tastes salty? I think that most normal people just grab the saltshaker and salt their food without really thinking or caring about why they do it. God made scientists differently. We tend to be a curious lot and wonder how everything around us works.

In the morning, scientists drink coffee and put salt and pepper on our eggs and potatoes just like everyone else. Some scientists, like the one typing at you this morning, also read the Bible and pray for God’s strength to help them do God’s will in the day ahead.

So back to the question I posed earlier. Why does salt taste salty? Salt tastes salty because God equipped our tongues with taste receptors that have membrane-bound sodium ion channels called the epithelial sodium channels (ENaC).  So why did God equip our tongues with membrane-bound sodium ion channels? I don’t know, but aren’t you glad that He did? I mean can you imagine a world without them? Life would be, well, boring and a little bland wouldn’t it?

Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” – Mark 9:50

I dare you to tell your doctor the next time that you see him or her that the Bible says that salt is good. The doctor will probably agree with you (let’s be honest the doctors salt their eggs too), but they will probably also warn you that too much salt can lead to health problems like high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to even worse health problems like heart attacks and strokes.

So like everything else in life, all good things should be consumed in moderation.

So back to Mark 9:50. I know that salt was used to preserve meat during the time of Jesus, and that we live in a dying and dark world that certainly needs a little preservative, but could Jesus have been saying something else in the verses about salt in the Bible? Sometimes I wonder if people who don’t know Jesus yet don’t like to be around Christians sometimes because we are, well, boring and bland. Yes, we are called to be Holy, and to live out our lives as examples of righteousness and truth, but do we have to be boring and bland while we are doing it?

Have you ever entered a room full of your colleagues at work who were laughing and having a great time and when you enter the room the mood changes because they know that you are a self-proclaimed Christian? Well, maybe it’s a good thing that they stop laughing and having fun because they could be talking behind somebody’s back (maybe you?) or telling off-color jokes. I’m NOT saying that we should join into those kinds of conversations. But maybe they are just having fun and Christians make them feel guilty all the time and maybe we are just well, too serious most of the time?

We have all seen pictures of different artists interpretations of what Jesus  looked like. The truth is that nobody knows what Jesus actually looked like and how He acted apart from what is described in the Bible. We do know however, that he was Jewish, so he probably looked like every other Middle Eastern man of His time. We like to think that Jesus was a handsome man, and that He looked like He could step into a leading male role in Hollywood, but what if He wasn’t physically that impressive? What if He was just an ordinary looking man… a man that could easily be lost in the crowd if there was not something else special about Him?

The Bible tells us that children loved Jesus and Jesus love children. I am somewhat of an expert on the subject because my wife and I have had the privilege of raising four of them. What I can tell you is that children don’t crawl all over and jump on aloof, way-to-serious, stern-looking strangers. They act this way around adults who are willing to stoop down on the ground to their level. Adults who talk to them and try to make them laugh and feel comfortable. They REALLY love adults who will play games with them and wrestle and tease them.

Are you and I that kind of person? Do we even take the time to notice the children around us? Do we take the time to pay attention to our own children like we should? Or are we so busy working and being a Christian that we don’t have time to stoop down to talk to a child, wipe their tear-filled eyes and hug them? Are we too busy teaching the “important” people in our churches instead of loving and teaching the children that God has blessed us with? I know that children don’t tithe, but Jesus knew that too, and that didn’t stop him from saying, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

So church why so serious? Why so bland and boring? Yes, Jesus could be serious when He needed to be, but He certainly was not bland and boring. Something to think about isn’t it the next time that we grab the saltshaker to please our membrane-bound sodium ion channels.

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