Another Sunday morning here in Indiana and I’m out in the woods, sitting leaned up against a large red-maple tree listening to the morning-doves that live with us in the northwest corner of the property. The wind is coming out of the northwest; about 5 mph. The temperature is about 71 F and the clouds are for the most part stratus mixed with cumulus; enough to cover the sky in a light shade of gray.
A moment ago I noticed two small trees next to me which had a peculiar trait. Each tree had two-three different shapes of leaves all scattered about on one branch. Standing up, I walked over and picked two of the differing leaves before sitting down and making some additional notes about these young fellows.
I won’t bore you further with my botanical notes, but this process started me thinking about the importance of knowing the world around you. Being as it is Sunday, I thought I’d take a moment to see what the Bible had to say about it and I happened to open my book to this:
“You are the salt of the earth, but what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
If we are the salt of the earth, how can we expect to just remain useful? Leave salt in the cupboard for years and it will harden and solidify and while salt cannot actually lose its flavor, if it is mixed with the wrong things or allowed to become wet it can deteriorate and be washed away.
In the same way we can get sucked into the day-to-day, distracted so much by the ants in the cupboard we don’t realize they are carrying us away one grain at a time. Before long we might find ourselves missing something, a portion of our being gone; taken away by the process of life or eroded by the winds of time. We are like all other things, mortal and susceptible to decay and rot lest we make a conscious effort to prevent it. Closing the cupboard door will do nothing but blind us to ants coming in or the water leaking down, yet left to the natural path we will decay into nothingness.
So what can we do?
We can open our eyes and ears. We can look and listen so that when the ants come we can ward them off. When the cupboard leaks we can move to another place. We can look and listen to everything around us and do our best to understand all things. Instead of casually switching topics left and right, we can observe more closely to discern those details unnoticeable at a passing-glance. In short: we can learn to pay attention to the world around us.
Since I was a boy I’ve been told to slow down. I’m so grateful for the old-dogs who taught me to take time to observe the world around me and in the above passage, it seems to me Jesus is saying the same thing. Just as salt is worthless to the world if it has no flavor, we are equally worthless if we have nothing to offer. A man who knows nothing is a little more than a burden and a nuisance to others, and a man cannot know anything without having first paid close attention.
So this Sunday maybe try to slow down and listen a little more intently. Take the time to look a little closer at things and make sure your salt hasn’t been carried off by the ants or washed away by the rain. Get to know the world around you a little better than you did before and above all enjoy your time doing it.
Take the time to get to know your salt. Have a good Sunday,