Winter has finally touched down in South Georgia. There was ice in the bird baths this morning and a chilly 26 degree wind plays in the Japanese magnolia blooms. A wonderful day for soup!
One of my favorite things to cook is a good big pot of soup. There is something healing to me in the process of cutting up, accumulating, mixing all those vegetables and meat in a pot along with broth and letting the whole simmer for hours, wafting invigorating aromas throughout the house. Even if I use canned vegetables, the process is still fun. My younger sister cans all her soup ingredients every summer so she’s pulling her own beautiful jars of beans and potatoes and carrots out of her pantry. I think about her as I open cans from the store.
My soups are usually delicious, “if I do say so.” Pot Roast Soup is one of my standbys but Broccoli Cheddar or Potato are favorites too. Recently I made Chicken Pot Pie Soup with broken spaghetti noodles for the thickening. I enjoy using homegrown herbs like rosemary and basil. A few drops of tabasco sauce in meaty soups adds zest and there’s hardly any soup that isn’t better with some onion!
But there’s one ingredient no pot of soup can happily do without. That’s salt.
I was thinking about that as I added Rotel tomatoes, kernel corn and lima beans to my pot. Some of us are not supposed to have a lot of salt. I say a little bit goes a long ways but don’t leave out that little bit.
The Bible says a lot about salt, that we as Christians should be salt and light, that salt that has lost its flavor has to be thrown away, that salt is good but can kill too. And then there’s this “salty” little verse in Colossians 4:6: Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Just as soup is woefully bland without salt, so our conversations, void of grace and “spices,” will be bland. Just what is a conversation full of grace and seasoned with salt?
I think it’s dialogue backed by prayer. It’s words issuing from a mouth schooled by the Holy Spirit. It’s thoughtful language stemming from a heart of love. Such conversation flows freely from one who is in close connection with the Master, who has done their Bible homework, and been well prayed up. It shouldn’t be necessary for one to check a dictionary in the middle of such conversation to see if the words he’s using are appropriate. One shouldn’t be on pins and needles hoping they’re not going to say the wrong thing. It should be natural–“seasoned with salt” like a nice pot of soup
The end of this verse holds the key to the “reasoning for the seasoning”! It says “so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Think of the many odd questions one may run into on any one day. There may be requests you never dreamed of coming at you when you have no tools handy, such as a Bible, concordance, or dictionary. You may be in your living room, or in an airport, in line at the grocery store, talking to an appliance repairman or a roofing man. We need to salt our conversations with thanksgiving and praise wherever we are. We need to be “full of grace” as we ask about our neighbor’s health, or answer strange questions like “Where did Cain get his wife?”
Ready for conversation? Happy, purposeful talking? Subjects like raising children, a new bird sighting, growing orchids, our nice winter weather and, yes, even politics, are fun and invigorating, especially if you remember to add salt!
About that soup–it’s hamburger vegetable today with chunky tomatoes, corn and beans. Come on over and let’s have some seasoned conversation over our soup!
Lord, guard my mouth. Save me from bloopers! Make me conscious of others’ needs. Please give me grace in my conversations, and just the right touch of salt.