Bread and Salt

In my recent quest to eat healthier, I’ve been pondering why Jesus talked about certain foods which many consider to be harmful, namely bread and salt. 

Some people, more in California than here in North Carolina, are down on carbs, almost to the point of being afraid of them. (I wonder if they have nightmares of being chased by carbohydrates.) But if bread is bad, I wonder why Jesus called himself the Bread of Life. He wouldn’t liken himself to something poisonous to us. When I lived in Romania, trusting God for our daily bread took on new significance for me. I witnessed the bread lines stretched for blocks. I doubt that it’s possible to eat a meal in Eastern Europe (or the Midwest) without having bread on the table. Bread is a staple of life in much of the world, and breaking bread together is the basis for family and community connection. Besides, we all need the fiber that comes from good whole grains. So I will continue to eat bread.

But, salt . . . now that’s different. It leads to high-blood pressure which causes heart disease and stroke (something I’ve been made more aware of recently). There are other spices which add flavor to foods without the health risk; some of them are even healthy in themselves. So why does Jesus tell us as his followers to be the Salt of the Earth? Salt does one thing that nothing else can: it preserves. If it’s true that our world is increasingly decaying and smelling like rotting meat, then probably we as believers haven’t been walking around in the butcher’s shops of the world, sprinkling our salt-like quality around to help prevent more decay. Maybe we’ve become tasteless. And if so, we know what that means we’re good for.

I will still try to stay away from adding salt to my food, while trusting Christ to show me how to be salty in this world that desperately needs Him.

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