It was the day of my final presentation for my 8am Child and Youth Studies class, and I needed some energy. I had given up coffee because I was afraid of it turning my teeth yellow (true story), so I resorted to tea. And I needed sugar – a TON of sugar – to wake me up and make me ready to roll. So I went to grab some but realized I didn’t even have any. Feeling like a zombie that needed to come alive from being dead, I panicked and stole some of my housemates’ sugar, dumping spoonfuls in my tea (sorry to my housemate if you are reading this). Only when I went to take a huge gulp full of my tea did I realize that I hadn’t used my housemates’ sugar – I had used her salt!! It was terribly repulsive, but I didn’t have anywhere to spit it out so I swallowed it. I learnt from that day forward to not steal my housemates’ things and to double check my ingredients before I use them – because those little white granulates can be deceiving.
YET another time before that incident, I had been baking gingerbread cookies for Christmas because my whole family was coming over and I wanted to make something special. I am not usually a baker (or cook for that matter), but I was attempting because I wanted to try something new (I also may or may not have wanted to prove to my siblings that I could actually make something delicious since I had messed up cooking food for them before). Anyhow, I had made all of the cookie dough and only needed to roll them in sugar before putting them in the oven to bake. I took out the sugar and began to roll the balls of cookie dough in it. My brother then came over, saw what I was doing, and asked “Are you sure that’s sugar?” Offended and thinking that I knew more than he did, I responded with a big yes and kept rolling the cookie dough in them. It came to the final hour where I tasted the cookies before I served them and I grimaced as I took the first bite. I looked back at the container of white granulates that was NOT labelled and tasted its contents. EW. It had been baking soda!!
So what is the point of me telling you these rather unpleasant experiences of mine? Well, the truth is, I make those types of mistakes every day. Whether it is because I am in rush from being so busy and not taking the time to pay attention to the small things, or whether it is because of my pride in thinking that I know more than I do, these things are pretty common in my life.
And I think you might understand where I am coming from with this too. You know what I’m talking about – that time you were in such a rush to get out the door that you forgot to take the car keys with you and you didn’t even realize until you were sitting in the driver’s seat trying to figure out why it wouldn’t start. Or maybe you grabbed your travel mug and went to drink from it at work and then realized you forgot to fill it up.
At times like these, when I am so busy, or too prideful, I find it hard to embark on my reality trek. If you have not gotten the chance to read my last blog, or have forgotten since you have last read it, what I mean by embarking on a “reality trek” is that I am choosing to believe in the amazing things Christ can do in my everyday, ordinary life. I know that if I choose to do that, I can find hope in every day of my life. But when I am in a rush, or too focused on myself, I do not find hope – instead, I find room for complaining and being negative. Why? Because I am not taking the time to appreciate the small things, or count my blessings. This is why finding alone time is SO important. And not just any alone time, but alone time with God.
Setting time aside to just breathe every day helps us focus our ideas, our thoughts AND our busy schedules. Setting time aside to spend with Jesus not only helps us do those things, but also refreshes our souls, and makes us thankful people by revealing to us our many blessings. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite when I write this because I know all too well the dissatisfying, anxious feeling that accompanies me when I do not do set time aside for God every day. I let the business of life and the demands of other people get to me when I do not spend time alone with Jesus. As I have learnt from other baking experiences, salt can be a good thing, but too much of it can make it rather bitter – and the same thing can be applied to us. It is hard to be positive and happy when one is salty and bitter about something.
Speaking of salt again, the Bible also has several symbolic uses of salt – there was Lot’s wife in Genesis who became a pillar of salt for looking back on Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction, the command in Colossians to “let your conversations always be full of grace, seasoned with SALT, so that you know how to answer them” (Col. 4:6 NIV), and the words Jesus himself spoke to us, saying “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot” (Mat. 5:13). It is these words in Matthew that I wish to elaborate on. Here, Jesus refers to salt four times in two sentences – this tells us how important its symbolism is to us. As Pastor Keith Krell explains on the website, bible.org, “Salt imparts flavour and improves the taste of bland food. If this is the function of salt Jesus has in mind, then how are disciples to be salty? Contextually, being salty is to live out the eight beatitudes previously listed in 5:3–12. If we live out these beatitudes we will make Christ attractive. Thus, to be “salty” is to be like Christ and live out His life. As we do so, we help those around us develop a taste for Jesus.” Here, it can be seen that being “salty” is actually a good thing. Not a bitter kind of salty, but a savouring kind of salty.
I strongly believe that as a part of this reality trekking, as a part of believing that Jesus can do amazing things every day of our lives, we need to be living like Christ. This includes speaking of Him to those who do not yet know Him personally. I know that can be very frightening at times, but this is how we see the amazing works of Christ happen. He can use anyone anywhere.
So, to sum it up: I am slowly learning to not let the business of life or my prideful ways distract me from my Jesus and my time with Him. I know that spending time with Him will really help me focus more on the positive aspects of life, will assist me on my reality trek (believing in the amazing things Jesus can do in my everyday, ordinary life), and will keep me from being TOO salty. Instead of being bitter with too much salt, I must remember to be salty with the flavour of Christ in order for others to “develop a taste for Jesus”. With that, I know that there is not only hope for me, but there is also hope for so many others in the world who do not yet know Him personally. So let your salt be tasteful and “let your light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).