Pass the Salt Please.

dubbelzoutSalt. It can be used to relieve bee stings, preserve food, enhance flavor or melt ice and gives seawater its distinctive taste. I willingly admit that I am a picky eater, although I prefer to say that I have a finely tuned palate. The Dutch blood that runs deep into my heritage has hardwired me to appreciate and love the salty taste of DubbelZout (double salt) hard black licorice. This fine Dutch treat has been preserving the Dutch and others for many years. (and yes I am eating them as I write this blog entry)

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Taken in context of the surrounding verses in Colossians 4, this figurative “seasoned with salt” statement is saying this,  let your conversation be uplifting. Paul writes this letter so that we can “talk the walk” that Jesus came to live out among us. Christ’s divine-human nature exemplifies the life that we are to live today. Full of grace, Christ came to love, teach and give. His words that were “seasoned with salt” were spoken to point us towards His Father. Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians from prison, it was meant to be encouraging and uplifting in a time when false teachers were drawing Christians away from the focus of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. His reminder that “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” reminds us of His supremacy over all things.

This passage reminds me of that of James chapter 3 and how he writes about the “Taming of the Tongue”. He asks the question, “Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring?” Essentially what he is asking is this, can our conversations or words reflect the love of Christ and curse mankind at the same time? According to James the answer is no! Unfortunately, this is how much of the world lives. We will never measure up to the standard of perfection lived out by Jesus because we were born into sin. It is important and key to our faith that we work diligently to reach for that measure of excellence, to ask Him to supply our needs, to give us the wisdom and courage to turn away from sin. The incarnation of Jesus happened so that we would be saved from our sins, so that we could return to a right relationship with our creator, our Father in heaven.  May our conversations be full of grace, uplifting and honoring to God so that others will see Him in us.

Well, That’s Life!

milkWell, that’s life! These words can often be heard after something bad or unlucky has happened. People frequently use these two short words to express their feelings or attitude towards something. I know that I use this phrase more often than I should because once and a while I hear my kids using it. A toy breaks, a cup of milk spills, someone doesn’t get a part in the school play or we miss an opportunity to see a rainbow, “oh well, that’s life!” When something bad happens and we have no control to change it our inclination is to chalk it up as a lesson learned.

Reading through the book of Luke I see a number of examples of “that’s life” as we follow the story of Christ’s life and ministry, but from a slightly different perspective. Let me give you some examples: In Luke 4 we read about Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law, in Luke 5 we hear about Jesus calling his disciples. In Luke 7 Jesus raises the son of a widow from the dead, Luke 9 recounts the incredible story of the feeding of the 5000 and Luke 17 records the miraculous healing of 10 Lepers. Of course there are many more stories recorded in the book of Luke, but when we look at these together we can see that in every case these things happened during the everyday happenings of life. There was no committee to plan the feeding of the 5000, the lepers called to Jesus as he was walking by and He just happened to be at Simon’s house when his mother-in-law was sick. My point is this, as Jesus lived among the people, much of the impact He had on their lives happened in the events of everyday real life.

Through our relationship with Christ, we are called to live as He did. The word incarnation means to “take on flesh”, Christ took on our flesh to live among us, to be an example for us and ultimately to die for us so that we can be saved. For us to live an incarnational life today means to reflect Christ’s life in our own. It is in our day to day interactions, our conversations, our attitudes and relationships that shape how people see Christ in us. We won’t get to know people and share in their stories if we are not “on the road” with them. In order for us to have an unforgettable, God honouring impact on our community, a place where people know that they matter to God and to us, we need to go out and be a part of that community.