I love this verse.
It’s part of a larger message to an early church whose overall point was twofold: Keep an attitude of prayer, and make the most of your conversations with others. But he gave it a little extra mustard by employing a food metaphor to drive his point home. If he were a food writer, he’d be Sam Sifton.
Paul didn’t suggest you sprinkle your conversations with sugar to sweeten your relationships or drizzle them with chili oil to keep things lively. He chose salt, perhaps the most versatile, useful and complex ingredient in your pantry.
Think for a moment what salt actually does:
Salt enhances. Used correctly, it brings out natural the attributes of whatever you’re working with, even sour or bitter things.
Salt penetrates. As with a Smithfield ham, if given enough time and patience, salt will get to the very heart of what you’re working with.
Salt distributes energy. Think of a salt crust for fish or a roast. It absorbs everything your oven throws at it, and then gently redistributes it to your food, lending some flavor in the process.
Salt preserves. It takes the essence of the original item and suspends it for future enjoyment, whether pickles, lemons or beef jerky.
Salt also can bring about physical changes in other substances. Sprinkle salt on ice, even in subzero conditions, and the surface will begin to liquify.
Now apply those qualities to your own conversations. Not only in life, but in work
The food business is overall not a happy business. I hear it in the voice of farmers whose prices get undercut, restaurant owners with elusive profits and food purveyors who are always wondering which customer will rip them off next.
What if we could be that conversation enhancer? The folks who ask the right questions, listen to the answers, build relationships and try to soften their hearts toward Christ?
Our days are full of opportunities to be a blessing. Keep the salt nearby.