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A Crucial Ingredient

"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16 (NRSV)

William G. Heck is from North Carolina. One of his favorite meals is pinto beans cooked with diced onion, sweet pepper, tomato, garlic, and salt. Although we cannot see salt in our food, it is crucial. We always know whether or not it is present - too much can make a dish inedible, and too little leaves it tasting bland. Just the right amount ensures a tasty meal.

Salt is important in our faith as well. Jesus tells us to be the salt of the earth. William thinks we should show Jesus' love to the world in such a way that we bring forth its full flavor. Part of our Christian responsibility is not only to make ourselves pleasing to God but also to relate to others in a way that helps them become pleasing to God. What a big challenge Jesus has set before us!

Being salt to the world is both humbling and empowering. We are humbled because being salt requires us to direct our attention toward others. And we are empowered because we trust the Spirit and share Jesus' ministry as we strive to make the world pleasing to God.

Prayer: O Lord, guide us to be salt in the world as we show your love to others, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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