Recently we had a friend, who is a chef, come to the house to prepare a meal for us and to teach us how to prepare steaks. We had three different petite steaks prepared three different ways. One was reverse seared, one was sous vide and one was dry brined. On the dry brine, he told us to cover the steak with salt and allow it to sit for at least an hour before washing off and cooking. The salt will pull the moisture to the surface of the steak creating a juicy, flavorful steak with a caramelized outside. The salt worked well before and during the cooking process. He then told us it’s best not to use pepper until after you’ve cooked your steak. Whereas salt interacts well with the fire, pepper actually adopts a bitter taste that we’ve all become used to.
As I was reading Mark 9:49-50, I thought about this dinner. Jesus said, “Everyone will be purified by fire as a sacrifice is purified by salt. Salt is good; but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have the salt of friendship among yourselves, and live in peace with one another” (GNT). Every one of us will go through the fire in this life. Will we dry up and get burned during that time or will we become more flavorful? I love how The Message puts Jesus’ word of Matthew 5. It says, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”
Our lives should be bring out God flavors in this world especially when we’re going through hard times. We shouldn’t be like those with pepper on them producing bitterness. Just like those steaks, it helps if we’re covered in salt before we go through the fire. We must continually be in prayer and in God’s Word so that when the fire comes, that’s what comes out of us. The world is going through a tough time right now. People are afraid, bitter and arguing. What better time for us to be salt and light than now? We have an opportunity like never before to bring out the God-flavors of the world. Let’s not squander it by being bitter. Let your salt be flavorful and leave a good taste in people’s mouth as you point them to God.
One of the things I enjoy doing is cooking. Whether it’s on the stove, in the oven, on a grill or over a campfire, I love making food that tastes good. Life is too short to eat bland food. No matter what I’m cooking though, one seasoning is almost always present. I store it in the cabinet, but when I’m preparing a meal, I have to take the salt out and put it on the meat. I can’t just set it on the counter and expect the food to absorb it. For it to season the food, i must apply it to the unseasoned meat. That is the only way it will work. Coincidentally, that’s the only way our witness works as well. If we don’t come into contact with people who aren’t seasoned with Jesus, how else are they supposed to know Him?
In Matthew 9, Jesus was walking through Capernaum when He came upon a tax collector named Matthew. The Jews thought he was a traitor because he was taking taxes from the Jews and giving them to the Romans. Jesus walked up to him and said, “Come, follow me.” Later, Jesus went to have dinner at Matthew’s house and Matthew invited all of his tax collecting friends who were society’s outcasts. The religious people lost their minds and questioned how Jesus could dine with such people if He was holy. Jesus responded in verse 13, “Now you should go and study the meaning of the verse: I want you to show mercy, not just offer me a sacrifice. For I have come to invite the outcasts of society and sinners, not those who think they are already on the right path” (TPT).
Jesus didn’t come so Christians could insulate ourselves from the world. He came so that the whole world would be reconciled to Him. If you’re not engaging with people who don’t know Jesus, you’re doing it wrong. Jesus didn’t preach at this dinner either. He simply hung out with them and His flavors rubbed off on them so much so that at least Matthew gave up his way of living to follow Jesus. Jesus looked at people as people first and not by the label of their sin. It’s easy to be religious and look at how someone sins differently than we do. It’s Christ like to look beyond their sin and to see the person He died for. If we’re going to spread His salt throughout the earth to all nations, we’ve got to look at people through His eyes rather than our religious ones. Jesus made it a habit to hang out with society’s outcasts and sinners. When is the last time you or I did that?