Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Salt and Pepper (07/24/14)
TITLE: Complementary Condiments
By Edmond Ng
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- “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:50 NAS)
All of us know the importance of salt in preserving and giving flavor to food, but few would ever think of pepper as an essential to our daily diet. So how did salt and pepper become a pair? The story dates back to the seventeenth-century in French cuisine, as written and told at various sites on the Web. Spices were considered by French chefs as ingredients masking the true flavor of dishes. Pepper was the only spice that did not overpower the taste of food. The pair had since become complementary condiments and is today typically found as a set of shakers on tables in most restaurants.
Life as a follower of Jesus is like salt and pepper. We have been called to be the salt of the earth to preserve the world from putrefaction and moral decadence. But many a time, challenges and sorrows, like pepper that spices up and sometimes burns, come along to accompany us and shake us up. Just as salt and pepper are seldom placed alone without the other as table condiments, so it is with trials in the Christian life. These two go together, for everyone will be salted with fire so our work will become evident as proof of our faith even though tested by fire (Mark 9:49; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:7).
But if the salt in us become tasteless because of too much ‘pepper’ or the entanglements of this world, then we need to get ourselves back on track with God to make it salty again. Otherwise, we might find ourselves no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49-50).
Are we feeling entangled because of the challenges and sorrows we face or the enticement of this world? Are we finding it difficult to be the salt of the earth with ‘pepper’ constantly hindering and sticking close to us?
Unless we accept the accompaniment of trials and tests in our lives, no amount of pep talk to ourselves will help us make progress or grow our faith. Nonetheless, just as pepper does not overpower the taste of food, so it is with trials and tests. No trial has overtaken us but such as is common to man. God is faithful and will not let us be tried beyond what we are able to bear, but with the trial will provide a way out so we may be able to endure it. Blessed are we who perseveres under trial, for when we have stood the test we will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12).
Grant us, dear Lord, the strength to withstand under trials so we might grow in faith rather than be found worthless in the end. Give us the heart to accept whatever comes our way as part of our progression and growth that having been salted by fire, we would come forth pure for Your purpose and work. Do not let the challenges, sorrows, entanglements, and the enticement of this world trample us underfoot, but help us persevere and bear up, that after having stood the test we will receive the crown of life.
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