By Tim Hall
Proposed legislation in New York prompts us to think of our influence.
About once a month I enjoy grits with my breakfast. My morning meals are generally simple, but when I gather with men from our congregation for a monthly breakfast, I’m dishing out grits alongside my eggs and bacon.
But I don’t care for unsalted grits. If I can’t add the sodium chloride, then I’m going to pass, thank you.
The legislature in New York wants to improve the lifestyles of their citizens. A proposal has been put forth to ban the use of salt in restaurants in that state.
Whether the food is for consumption on-site or off, adding salt to their fare will bring a $1,000 fine for every dish they serve.
Big Apple chefs are understandably upset, arguing that the legislation is “absurd.” We suspect customers feel the same way. If the legislation is passed, you can be sure patrons of dining establishments will be carrying shakers of salt in little brown bags.
Jesus used the common image of salt in his charge to his followers: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13, NKJV).
Salt produces a distinctive flavor in food; people notice when it’s present (and when it isn’t). Christianity should also produce distinctive qualities in the lives it affects. If not, something is wrong.
Honesty is one aspect of the Christian’s saltiness. Paul’s instructions to slaves show this: “Not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10).
An employee who takes what does not belong to him shows no distinctive effect of Christ in this respect.
The way we love others can show the godly salt in us. Jesus taught this: “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46).
Loving one’s enemies is a sure way to get the attention of the world.
Our words should also be salted. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).
Our task is more than purging out offensive words heard on the street; we must deliberately infuse our words with uplifting grace. Others will notice.
Some Christians, however, live as if there is a ban on salt in their lives. Restaurants that serve unsalted dishes will lose customers. Will Christians who display unsalted lifestyles find any who wish to adopt their faith?
By Tim Hall