Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Salt and Pepper (07/24/14)
TITLE: The Bitter End
By Diane M. Bowman
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"Grandpa, in the Bible chapter you just read, Jesus tells us to be like salt. If Christians are salt, is everyone else pepper?"
Grandpa laughed as he leaned back in his chair. "Pepper?" His face grew contemplative. "Esti, it does seem like a lot of people think that way. Salt preserves and pepper gives flavor. Christians preserve the world and those who don't follow God give it flavor. Is that what you were thinking?"
"Yes... I guess. Just hadn't exactly thought it through. It doesn't seem quite right, somehow. As though being a Christian is boring, flavorless."
"Do you think pepper is good?"
She looked at her plate of eggs, nearly black with pepper and grinned. "Uhmm...yes."
"Can you think of anything good that wasn't given to us by God?"
"Grandpa, that's silly. Of course not. I mean... sometimes something seems good when it really isn't."
"That's exactly why we have to learn to discern the difference between God's good gift and Satan's counterfeit." He stood, reached into a cupboard, and then turned back to the table. "Close your eyes and hold out your hand."
Esti squeezed her eyes shut and felt a few grains fall into the palm of her hand.
"Ok, you can look now." Grandpa grinned as he hid something behind his back. "Taste it and tell me what you think it is."
She dipped her finger in the white grains and touched it to her tongue. "Salt. No, it tastes a bit different. Ewwww....." Esti grabbed her water and gulped half the glass, downed a few bites of egg, then stuffed her toast into her mouth. "Grandpa, what was that? It tasted like salt at first but the aftertaste was awful. Bitter. I can't get the flavor out of my mouth."
He set the shaker of salt substitute on the table, "It was potassium chloride. Salt is sodium chloride. Almost the same thing, but not quite. All of Satan's substitutes will be like the potassium chloride. They start out good but end up bitter."
"Ok. I get it. When you aren't sure if something's good, try it. You'll know by how it tastes in the end whether it was from God or not."
"Now, I wouldn't think that was a good idea. You could end up in a lot of bitter places by doing that." Grandpa picked up the salt and the salt substitute. "How do you plan to keep from accidentally putting the salt substitute on your food?"
Esti tilted her head to the side and shrugged, "I'll read the label and only use the real thing."
"You know, that works in life, too. Read the label. Make sure it's the real thing. If the Bible doesn't say it's good, it probably isn't from God."
"What about the pepper? Does Satan have a substitute for that too?"
"No. I think he has a different tactic. Which kind of pepper do you like better? The pepper out of this?" He placed a peppershaker in front of her plate. "Or out of this?" He set a pepper grinder beside it.
"Definitely the pepper grinder. Fresh ground has much more flavor. Why does it?"
"Pepper loses its zip quickly after it's ground. Followers of Jesus are just like that. Satan has figured out if he can convince a Christian that there is no need to be broken on a regular basis, life will lose its spice. Once the Christian life loses savor; his counterfeits become appealing to the senses. If only God's people would be willing to be broken every day, they would find the most exciting life they ever lived comes by following Him."
Esti considered Grandpa's words a while. "What does pepper taste like once it's stale? Is it just bland?"
"At first, but in the end it's bitter."
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