Salt and Grace

Devo with Hot Pepper Jelly Demo
by Melanie McLeod

Sweet and salty seems to be the flavor combination of the day. From bacon jam on a filet, to salted caramel in everything from rice cakes to beer, we love to mix our flavors. New foods and new flavor combinations are enjoyable. Experiencing the culinary delights of an interesting pairing of flavors by a local chef can be a great date night or a fun girls’ night out. 

The flavors of seasonings and spices are just one of the gifts that show not only the creativity of our God, but just how sweet He is to give us things for our pleasure. As I prepared for the hot pepper jelly demo and prayed about what verse to use, Colossians 4:6 came to mind. 

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” 

Colossians 4:6

This verse is found at the end of Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae in which he corrects many false beliefs that had crept into this young body of believers. He spends two chapters driving home the supremacy of Christ, and then writes very practically on how to live the Christian life. He ends the instruction portion of his letter beginning in verse 2 of chapter 4 by encouraging his readers to pray earnestly, vigilantly and with thanksgiving. Then he reminds them that the world is watching, and he challenges them to “be wise in the way they act towards outsiders” so that they can make the most of every opportunity and “know how to answer everyone.” 

Recent new relationships have reminded me of the importance of conversations. As my circle of influence has broadened with the reintroduction of tennis in my life, I’ve been exposed to conversations and language that haven’t been part of my life in a long time. These less than godly conversations have reminded me of the need to be aware, like the Colossians, that the world is watching. 

Paul encourages his audience to “let your conversations always be full of grace.” Grace is to be the main ingredient in our conversations. But what is grace? Here, according to Strong’s concordance, it means “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness – grace of speech.” These are things our conversations should be full of. Then there are some things we just need to leave out. 

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” 

Ephesians 4:29

“Do everything without complaining or arguing…” 

Phil. 2:14

Our conversations should be full of grace! 

I’ve often wondered about the “seasoned with salt” part of this verse. Salt has many uses. Recently I was car shopping at a local used dealership. I noticed that many of the used cars there were shipped in from Buffalo, NY. After seeing several cars were from there I moved on to another dealership because while salt is great for melting ice on roads that have lots of ice and snow, it also corrodes the underside of a car. 

Salt preserves, as in meat, fish, jerky, but it also kills. If you pour the water out of your ice cream maker into the grass in your yard, guess what will happen! Your grass will die. 

In Scripture, we’ve seen salt destroy, as in Sodom and Gomorrah. And Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt. So salt can make a wasteland, or salt can lose its saltiness and be completely useless. 

There are many other uses of salt, but in Leviticus 2:13, we see salt as an integral part of the sacrifices to the Lord. 

“Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.” 

Leviticus 2:13

Some of the grain offerings would have been burned completely as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, but the rest would have been eaten, specifically by Aaron and his descendants. 

Probably all of us have eaten something that was missing some salt. Food that isn’t salted or seasoned is bland and tasteless. Salt not only flavors, it makes food savorable. 

Wasn’t it sweet of the Lord to make salt a necessary part of the offering?! 

Colossae – not Jews, so might not be familiar with regulations for sacrifices and offerings, but Paul was. He knew that even our conversations should be considered as offerings to the Lord – thus the phrase “seasoned with salt.” 

The important thing about seasoning with salt, is that you must be careful to only use just enough. When used in the right amount, salt flavors, salt preserves, salt heals, salt gives savor to food, salt penetrates into what is being seasoned, as in a roast or other meat. 

Our conversations should be the same. 

They should be full of grace-that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, but they should also be an offering to the Lord. 

Our words should be free of corruption-wrong attitudes, coarse language, gossip, etc. 

The things that we say should be flavorful and appropriate for our audience-different audiences require different language. The way we speak to one person won’t be the same as to another. The thing that speaks to one person won’t speak the same way to another person. We need to flavor our conversations appropriately for our audience 

The words we speak may have to be rubbed in. Sometimes it takes building a relationship with someone for them to really hear what we are saying. It may take many conversations before the message of Christ in us reaches the spirit of another, so it is important that we be consistent – that our words be always full of grace and an offering to the Lord – seasoned appropriately, as with salt.

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