Many of our German friends have asked about our 6-week trip to the U.S. this summer. We truly had a wonderful time reconnecting with family and friends, churches and organizations, and meeting new people. It was a jam-packed summer; the busiest summer of our lives! Some days we felt like we were barely treading water, and yet there were also some moments of pause and rest. Before we knew it, we were back on the plane to Hamburg!
Our friends on both sides of the pond are interested in the differences between cultures. One German friend asked, “Is living in America just like the American reality shows on TV?” Others asked about the food, and if the food back home was as good as we remembered. Interestingly, after living in Germany for two years, our taste buds have changed.
When we arrived in Pittsburgh, our first stop, we thought everything tasted overly salty and/or sweet. Even the textures of foods seemed a little off to us. Two years living away from a place is a long time. But interestingly, by the end of our first week visiting, most foods tasted “normal” again. Isn’t it crazy how quickly our bodies adjust to new surroundings?
When we arrived back in Pinneberg, we had the opposite experience. Foods tasted bland and boring. And our beloved sparking water tasted bitter! We were especially surprised about this as we had only been away a short time.
This flip-flopping of our taste buds made us think about salt. Mark 9:50 reads, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
No matter how our personal taste changes, one thing remains: Jesus says we are the salt of the world. When we become Christians we become people directed by the Holy Spirit. We become a “salty” presence to those around us. Salt added to food gives it a pleasant taste. Salt preserves food. Salt increases thirst. No matter where we go, we are called to be a pleasant, preserving, thirst-inducing people. In other words, when people spend time with us, they should taste Christ and desire more of Him. If we lose our saltiness, we are as useful as salt that is no longer salty, which can only be thrown on the ground and trampled.
God has given us a much greater purpose. We (all Christians) are called to bring flavor, freshness and excitement to a world which has forgotten about God. The Gospel message is so much more than words on a page. It changes us, from the inside out; and when used with balance, brings out the best of the food it seasons.