"Pass the salt, please."
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person. Colossians 4:6
I felt horrible. My sweat soaked clothes clung to me like I had just been caught in a downpour. My stomach was churning. My head was spinning and my legs felt like lead. It had been a long, hot, humid, 13.1 miles of running. I had managed to complete the Rock-n-Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, but I was dehydrated and close to the edge of heat exhaustion. In my quest of finishing another half marathon, I had depleted my body's store of salt. My tenuous physical state was a direct result of losing the sodium my body needed to function properly.
Salt. Sodium Chloride. We don't think too much about it, but we need it. It has over 14,000 uses. It can preserve, flavor, remove stains, aid in healing, remove odors, freeze ice cream, clear icy roads, protect against decay and most importantly sustain life. The chloride part of salt is essential for digestion and respiration. The sodium part is used to transport nutrients or oxygen, transmit nerve impulses, or move muscles including the heart. Our bodies can't manufacture it and we are constantly losing it. My sweat soaked clothes were evidence of the amount of salt my body had lost over the course of two and half hours. My leaden legs were proof that my muscles were salt deprived.
So, how do we replace it if our bodies can't do it naturally? We eat it or drink it. Red meat is naturally salty. Other foods require we add it. We sprinkle it on our fries and popcorn. Gatorade or other sports drinks contain sodium to replace what is lost while exercising. And the best is when we add it to something sweet. Dark chocolate and sea salt. Chocolate covered pretzels. You get the picture.
The Bible mentions salt frequently. It is an analogy the people of the ancient world understood. Salt was valuable. It was vital for survival. It was used to preserve food and pay bills. It was important and people knew it. It's significance is lost on us because we have electricity, paper currency and credit. So what can we learn from salt to apply to our verses today?
Colossians 4:6 tells us our speech is to be gracious and seasoned with salt. Sweet and salty. The best combination. Kind, tender, inviting, nonjudgmental words are to come out of our mouths. But, at the same time our words are to preserve, heal, spice up, prevent decay, and sustain life. Each conversation we have is different. The people we encounter need different words from us. Sometimes our friends need words that heal. Other times our words need to stop the gossip or decay around us. Sometimes we have the life giving words that someone is desperate to hear. Words are the way we transmit life sustaining truth and encouragement to each other. Words are precious. Words are healing. Words are powerful. Words are more valuable than we realize. Words need to be used wisely. Just like salt.
So, the next time you are engaging in a conversation, ask God to give you the right combination of sweet and salty words to offer those around you.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.