While holidaying in Strunjen, Slovenia, I saw salt pans where salt has been extracted for seven centuries. In its heyday, demand was so high that the sea salt was called ‘white gold’.
I could not help but think that salt is now so widely available that we take it for granted. We notice it only when it is absent. Besides making food tastier, salt has minerals that are essential for nerve and muscle health. Yet, consuming too much salt can be detrimental.
My musings about salt brought to my mind Jesus’ call to His followers to be the ‘salt of the earth’. Meanwhile, we will also do well to heed His warning that salt which loses its saltiness is good only for throwing out and being trampled underfoot (Matt: 5:13).
What, then, is good salt?
Today, being good is an underrated personal quality. Qualities such as drive, ambition, and tenacity appear to be valued more than honesty, integrity, and compassion. We measure ourselves by our qualifications, our jobs, our material possessions, etc. We work hard at being good at performance rather than in character.
In my counselling work, many come for help at a point of moral crisis. Some are couples where one party has gone astray. Others have lost their sense of perspective or direction in life. Instead of doing what was right, they chose to do what was convenient. Often, their challenge is not so much in not knowing what is right, but having the courage or discipline to do it.
While being good in character is under-appreciated, its absence – like salt – will be noticed. If goodness is absent in our world, where would we be? History has many examples of great civilisations collapsing when moral decay was rife and evil thrived. Even today, countries with good governments are better off than those without upright leaders.
There are consequences for failing to do what is right and good. When we cease to be good salt, we may – like salt that has lost its taste – find ourselves fit only to be discarded and trampled under people’s feet. To be the ‘salt of the earth’, we have to seek to do good and bring value to our own lives and the lives of others.
Benny Bong –
has been a family and marital therapist for more than 30 years, and is a certified work-life consultant. He was the first recipient of the AWARE Hero Award in 2011 and is a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.
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