Some months ago, a friend asked for help throwing an international student potluck. Knowing that students don’t usually bring homemade food to a potluck, and having invited at least ten students to join us there, I made a lot of food to take along. I spent most of the day shopping for ingredients and then making a large TexMex casserole and a dozen or so bell peppers with TexMex filling. The food I made—if I may say so myself—looked lovely.
We gathered around tables to eat and I found myself sitting next to a stranger from Iran. Her Pakistani friend asked her, “How does that casserole taste?” indicating the food I had made, on her plate. Neither of them knew that I was the one who had made the casserole, and so she spoke honestly: “It doesn’t taste like anything.”
Unfortunately, as soon as I tasted the casserole, I realized that she was right: I had piled the casserole high with good ingredients: rice, beans, corn, cheese, TexMex spices and on top, avocado and cilantro. But in scaling the recipe, I hadn’t included enough salt, and so the whole casserole tasted worthless. My whole day’s work felt wasted.
I didn’t let on that the casserole was mine, so as not to embarrass her after her frank feedback. I came home somewhat ashamed my cooking mistake. But the next day as we started to eat the leftovers (a task which took several days) I added more salt to them. An amazing thing happened: suddenly the whole casserole tasted delicious. Salt was the only thing that was missing. The other ingredients were there, but they just needed salt to enhance their flavours.
This disappointing situation illustrated a spiritual point: Christian hospitality is about remembering the salt. Jesus taught that his followers are “the salt of they earth”. He probably meant this in several ways, but we all know that salt enhances flavour and preserves. It also cleanses and disinfects. There's no real replacement for salt.
If you’re like me, you may sometimes forget the salt in your cooking. Someone may even bluntly point out your mistake. But don’t forget the salt in your life and conversation with those you host. The Word says that you are the salt. As you share Truth, those words clean and disinfect. Through your life, Christ wants to brings flavour to the otherwise bland beans, corn, rice the world has to offer. Without salt, life doesn’t taste like anything.