By Contributing Writer, Carmon Friedrich
It took us 30 years, but after too many meals with sore jaws from chewing tough meat, we finally figured out how to grill a delicious steak. My husband, the engineer and King of the Grill (he’s an expert at flashlight barbecue on dark and stormy nights), decided to do some research and he learned how to do it. He found a website which recommended the following five points, which appealed to us:
- Rub coarse kosher salt all over your steak (even the more inexpensive cuts), so that it looks white.
- Let it sit at room temperature for an hour for every inch thick the steak is.
- Rinse the meat thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
- Have the grill heated to a high temperature, put meat on grill, and cook on both sides to desired doneness (we are medium-rare people here).
- Then bring inside, tent with foil for 5-10 minutes, and serve. It will be tender and buttery. If you want to serve it Ruth’s Chris style, add a pat of butter to make it even more buttery. We are of the opinion in this household that saturated fats are health food.
Why does the steak get so tender? It’s a chemical reaction from the salt which my husband can explain in great detail for as long as it takes for the salt to work its magic, but all I know is that it works. Salt (and saturated fat) have gotten a bad rap for a long time, but the Bible actually speaks of both salt and fat in an approving way.
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” ~Nehemiah 8:10
No American Heart Association warnings there! Salt is also given the Lord’s stamp of approval in the Sermon on the Mount – the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest preacher who ever lived:
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. ~Matthew 5:13
How does this saltiness work? We’ve all heard sermons telling us that we should be salty Christians, “out of the saltshaker and into the world.” But what does that look like?
Many have interpreted saltiness in the Christian life in terms of sharing the Gospel with others. It is one of the main reasons some Christians send their children to public school: they see it as a vast mission field and believe that it is their duty to send their unseasoned (pun intended) youngsters to “be salt and light” there as part of fulfilling our purpose given in that verse.
I think that to limit that verse to sharing the Gospel with others is to misunderstand what it says.
Matthew 5:13 says, “You ARE the salt of the earth…” It doesn’t say to be salt, it says you ARE salt. Jesus was speaking to those multitudes who were following Him, anxious to be healed, to be fed, and they were a captive audience. They were Jews who were looking for the Messiah whom they believed would relieve their oppression.
But among the crowd were also many of the religious leaders who were living and teaching idolatrous perversions of God’s commandments. “You have heard it said…but I say,” Jesus repeated over and over as he preached to the crowd, revealing His purpose and the true Word of God.
“You are the salt of the earth, BUT…if the salt has lost its taste…it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” The false teachers who heard that surely bristled, because they knew He was speaking of them. It was an insult.
However, those who truly belong to God, who love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:15), who live to please Him, they ARE the salt of the earth. As we have all heard, salt enhances flavor, salt preserves from decay, and salt, as my steak story shows, can tenderize tough meat. So what does it look like when we are salty Christian women? Does it mean we can use bad words when we have a hard day? No, no, no…that’s a salty sailor.
It does involve sharing the glorious gospel with others, but it doesn’t mean we have to pull up stakes (pun intended) and hit the road to do it. And it doesn’t mean we have to send our children to government indoctrination centers as our envoys to convert the lost in our back yards.
In fact, this verse does not even command us to “be salt and light,” it states that we already are salt and light. There is an implicit negative command, a warning, that if we think we are salt, but we are not fulfilling the purpose of salt, we are not really salt at all … we are a useless substance that is good for nothing.
If we are truly salt, we will be salty, and that will permeate everything in our lives. We WILL enhance life for those around us, our homes will be appealing and attractive to those who are bowed down with the blandness of their sinful lives. We WILL preserve good culture and and prevent the decay that threatens to destroy society, by the way that we live joyful and godly lives boldly and openly and hospitably before a dying world. And our lives of sacrifice and love in our homes and with our neighbors WILL soften hardened hearts as we deny ourselves and joyfully choose to be last rather than pushing for our rights and pursuing selfish desires.
This can happen in the most humble of ways, through so-called mundane faithful service that happens in our homes. My Grill King husband, who is very wise, calls it the slow-fast way of changing things.
Let me leave you with an encouraging example of how we can see the effects of salty womanhood permeating and giving great benefit to the earth which needs that seasoning that God has called us to provide. In her book Marriage to a Difficult Man, Elisabeth Dodds tells how Jonathan Edwards’s wife, Sarah, was a faithful wife to him and mother to their eleven children. She made a stable and godly home for them, and provided gracious hospitality there for countless visitors, through many trials and the daily trial of a busy husband who was often distracted by his work and study.
She struggled at times, but she was salty through and through, gaining strength and maturity in the process. She taught all those children at home, even the girls . And they WERE salt and light, as a recounting of the fruit of a faithful mother (we’ll give Jonathan some credit, too!) proves in this list of descendants:
An investigation was made of 1,394 known descendants of Jonathan Edwards, of which 13 became college presidents, 65 college professors, 3 United States Senators, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 preachers and missionaries, 60 authors of prominence, one Vice-President of the United States, 80 public officials in other capacities, 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries. (From America is Too Young to Die by Leonard Ravenhill, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, 1979, p. 112.)
Now, we don’t know that all those descendants were salt of the earth people (the Vice President was the infamous Aaron Burr who was not salty and did meet a just end), but we do know that they had an influence on the culture around them, seasoning it through prominent positions. I wish that list included the faithful wives and mothers who were helpmeets and world changers through their salty service in their callings at home.
Special bonus: Here are some quotes from Tryon Edwards, a great-great grandson of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, found at George Grant’s blog:
“Facts are God’s arguments; we should be careful never to misunderstand or pervert them.”
“Sinful and forbidden pleasures are like poisoned bread; they may satisfy appetite for the moment, but there is death in them at the end.”
“To rejoice in another’s prosperity is to give content to your lot; to mitigate another’s grief is to alleviate or dispel your own.”
“We should be as careful of the books we read, as of the company we keep. The dead very often have more power than the living.”