One of the lectionary readings for this week is from Mark 9. Marilyn Thornton, who wrote the devotions in this week’s series in Disciplines, used Mark 9:42-50 as the basis for this Sunday’s devotion (which I read today).
First of all, look at these verses (43-47):
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell…I really like Marilyn Thornton’s expansion on these verses – “In this passage Jesus utters an emphatic declaration concerning the temptation to sin in what we do (hand), in the lifestyle in which we walk (foot), and in how we use our intellect (eye).” I’ve never looked at those verses in that way. I’ve always seen the more concrete meaning of them, but this more symbolic interpretation rings truer for me. We should separate ourselves from those things which cause us to sin – to be out of harmony with God. It is better to leave them behind, than to miss out on a relationship with Him.
Then look at this verse (50):
I’ve written about salt before, but this devotion developed its meaning for me beyond what I’ve thought of before. We are to be the salt – She calls it, “the essence that helps preserve the table of Christ’s love…”
Think of the cooking show hosted by Emeril on the Food Network. His special, custom made seasoning is called “essence.” He throws this essence on food, and yells, “BAM!” We are custom made, designed by God. Can’t you see God, the joyful chef, sending us into a situation with confidence in us, since He has custom-equipped us for where he is sending us? BAM!
Salt is a preservative. It reminds me again of that line from the song “Stir.” We are the “love remaining.” We are the salt, meant to preserve – keep vital and active – the love of God.
Would you want to have a meal of ONLY salt? We are not the entrée; we are the seasoning, inviting others to the meal. “In other words, we are not the main dish! So get over it and let God be glorified.” (I love that line). Sometimes we really just need to "get over ourselves." Salt brings out the flavors in other ingredients. How can we point out the gifts of other people, and be an encouragement for them?
We are love remaining
We are called to be the salt in all that we do, in the way that we live, and in how we use our gifts. BAM!