Once upon a time there was a father who had two daughters. Calling them to him one day he said to them, “What is the sweetest thing in the world?”

“Sugar,” said the elder daughter.

“Salt,” said the younger.

The father was angry at this last answer. But his daughter stuck to it, and so her father said to her, “I won’t keep a daughter in my house who believes that salt is the sweetest thing in the world. You must leave me and seek another home.”

So the younger daughter left her father’s house and wandered here and there, suffering much hunger and cold, until at last she was befriended by the fairies. As she walked through a wood one day listening to the songs of the birds, a prince came hunting for deer, and when he saw her he fell in love with her at once. She agreed to marry him, and a great banquet was prepared at the prince’s house. To this banquet the bride’s father was bidden; but he did not know that the bride was his own daughter.

Now, at the wish of the bride, all the dishes were prepared without salt. So when the guests began to eat they found that the food was tasteless. At last one of them said, “There is no salt in the meat!”

And then all the guests said, “There is no salt in the meat!”

And the bride’s father spoke the loudest of all. “Truly, salt is the sweetest thing in the world,” he said, “though, for saying so, I sent my own daughter away from my house, and shall never see her face again.”

Then the bride made herself known to her father, and fell on his neck and kissed him.

– “Sugar and Salt”, an English folk tale

Source: Sidney Oldall AddyHousehold Tales, with Other Traditional Remains Collected in the Counties of York, Lincoln, Derby, and Nottingham, no. 50, pp. 48-49

All’s well that ends well in this old folk tale! The father recognized the true value of salt, his daughter was back in his good graces, the wedding went on peacefully, everyone lived happily ever after, salt is sweeter than sugar, and so on and so forth.

“Wait, hold on just a minute…salt is sweeter than sugar?! In what alternate universe is this the case?”

Okay, okay…If we are using “sweet” in the general and literal usage of the word, I would have to agree with the father and elder daughter in the story: sugar is definitely sweeter than salt. However, when the younger daughter claimed that salt was the sweetest thing in the world, she was speaking in an unorthodox and figurative way. Salt is “sweet” in that it brings out the flavor in everything it touches – from savory dishes to desserts. Salt has a wide range and can bring out the best in all foods, while sugar is limited to flavoring a much smaller range of dishes. Salt is an exceedingly useful mineral, and you’ve got to admit – that’s pretty sweet.

In the last few years, the word “salty” said in a certain context has taken on a slang meaning. To be “salty” in the modern vernacular is to be upset, offended, aggravated, or just in a downright crabby mood. One might say, “the lady in the checkout line got all salty when the clerk informed her that her coupon had expired” or “I was feeling pretty salty when that car cut me off on my morning commute”. In this vein, we don’t want to be salty, or be around others who are salty. Alternatively, there is a certain kind of “salty” that we definitely want to be and be around. You know where this is headed…I am of course referring to us being the “salt of the earth” as per Jesus’ words from Matthew 5:13. If we’re talking biblically vs slang, then I want my Lord to say of me: she’s so salty. Because in His eyes, that will mean I’m sweeter than sugar.

What’s so good about a “salty” kinda gal? I’ll tell you three reasons why such a one is “worth her salt” (pardon the pun). First of all, a salty gal will have others…

Can something tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the white of an egg? My soul refuses to touch them; they are like loathsome food to me. – Job 6:6-7

Salt can take the blandest food from mundane to mouthwatering. To illustrate this, Job used the humble egg. Egg whites certainly are pretty tasteless, but add a little salt and voila – you have a delicious snack. Various other treats, such as popcorn, peanuts, and pretzels, wouldn’t be half as craveable without their added sodium content. Within reason, the more salt, the better!

As Christians, being salty means that we add flavor and flair to that which is tasteless, dull, or even unappetizing. We should be a zealous and zesty lot…a people who stir up the appetite for a wholesome, nutritious diet. We ought to be so salty, that when others look for a treat, they choose to reach for us.

Salt is the difference between eating in Technicolor and eating in black and white.

– Jay Rayner

·         Salty Christians are craveable because they are kind. In a cruel, dog-eat-dog world, people are drawn to those who have a genuine warmth about them. People are more likely to want to be around you if you wear a smile when others wear a scowl, if you are an active listener rather than an active interrupter, if you value discussion over debate, and if you add calm in the midst of chaos. This world is feeling hungry for kindness.

·         Salty Christians are craveable because they are influential. In a world filled with depression, divorce, disunity, disorder, and the like, people are drawn to those who lead functional lives. When people observe our lives and they see positive traits such as joy, harmonious marriages, unity, order, etc. it sets a stark contrast to the bleak lifestyles many lead. They want to know how to get a hold on stability for their own life. This world is feeling hungry for influence.

·         Salty Christians are craveable because they are trustworthy. In a world where promises are easily made and easily broken, people are drawn to those whose word is their bond. When others know that they can rely on us, that we say what we do and do what we say, that we always come through for them even when it inconveniences us, they will know that there is no better friend than a Christian. This world is feeling hungry for trustworthiness.

Are you carrying salt in your k.i.t.? Be kind, be influential, and be trustworthy…be a salty kinda gal and you’ll have others feeling hungry in no time. Additionally, a salty kinda gal will have others…

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. – Colossians 4:6

People “feeling hungry” (as per our previous point) should subsequently lead to them “feeling thirsty”. Just as a salty treat such as a pretzel will quickly have us seeking a drink to quench our thirst, so too will a salty Christian inspire people’s thirst for the Living Water that comes from God. As Paul pointed out in Colossians, our “speech” – the message we preach with our words and actions – should always be motivated by the grace that is found in Christ Jesus. Our salty character will point others to Him.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” That may be true. But it’s also true that you can feed a horse salt and make him thirsty.

– John C. Maxwell

·         Salty Christians show God to be craveable because they are kindred. Jesus tells us in John 17:21 that one of the primary ways the world can be convinced to believe in Him is by observing the unity that His followers have with one another. When we serve our brethren, when we “speak the same things”, when our bond in Christ outweighs any diversity we might have, it shows that there is one powerful force holding us together. This world is feeling thirsty for kinship.

·         Salty Christians show God to be craveable because they are intellectual. Many in the world mock Christianity…they say that the Lord is just our “imaginary friend in the sky” and that His word is merely “a book of fairy tales”. Sadly, it’s not hard to understand why they feel this way when so many who claim Christ base their belief in Him solely on feelings of inspiration and romanticism. We need to show the world that our faith is not just fluff, but has basis in reason and logic. This world is feeling thirsty for intellect.

·         Salty Christians show God to be craveable because they are tactful. Social media has done much damage in that it allows people to become “keyboard warriors”: arguing and bickering back and forth with those who don’t share their views. Our salty character compels us to teach with the Bible in love, not thump with it in order to prove a point. We want to show God’s word to be palatable to the lost. Just as a little salt helps a child to tolerate their vegetables and ingest some nutrition, a little salt helps the world tolerate the Bible and ingest some truth.  This world is feeling thirsty for tact.

Are you carrying salt in your k.i.t.? Be kindred, be intellectual, and be tactful…be a salty kinda gal and you’ll have others feeling thirsty in no time. Additionally, a salty kinda gal will have others…

Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. – Mark 9:50

In our first world country, we are accustomed to thinking of salt as only something found in a shaker on the kitchen table. However, in Bible times, and in more primitive areas of the world today, a vital use of salt was/is to preserve food and delay decay sans refrigeration. Consider this: salt preserves other foods, but nothing preserves salt. In other words, you can’t “salt” salt…it is salt. Jesus’ words in Mark point out that we have a responsibility toward others to stay salty. We can salt the world, but the world can’t salt us. The body of Christ is on a solo mission to preserve some goodness in this world and save souls from rot. 

Be salt, and a little bit of salt keeps the whole society from going rancid.

– Philip Yancey

·         Salty Christians make others craveable because they are kosher. Just as Jesus’ example of the beam and mote goes (see Matthew 7 and Luke 6), one can only help preserve others when they themselves have a love for that which is pure and wholesome. When we lead by example with our upright behavior, it shows that it’s possible to abandon a rotten existence and cling to that which is fresh and good.  This world is feeling fresh for kosher living.

·         Salty Christians make others craveable because they are invincible. The longer one lives on this earth, they tend to become more sober about the brevity of life. Questions such as “is this all there is?” and “what is the point of the life I’ve lived?” often plague the mind of the lost as they age, for they sense that the clock of their life is ticking. Christianity offers hope to a dying world: there’s more to life than this earthly plane…you can be preserved…you can live forever! This world is feeling fresh for invincibility.

·         Salty Christians make others craveable because they are tenacious. We are patient when trying to reach others, and don’t give up too quickly on people. Some people, like some foods, need a little salt for their preservation…and some need a lot of salt. The trick is learning to discern one from the other. We apply as much salt as needed before ever dreaming of leaving someone to decay and wither away to nothing. This world is feeling fresh for our tenacity.

Are you carrying salt in your k.i.t.? Be kosher, be invincible, and be tenacious…be a salty kinda gal and you’ll have others feeling fresh in no time.

In conclusion…

Are you salty? Every Christian needs to carry salt in their k.i.t:

  • Salty Christians are craveable, because they are kind, influential, and trustworthy.

  • Salty Christians show God to be craveable, because they are kindred, intellectual, and tactful.

  • Salty Christians make others become craveable, because they are kosher, invincible, and tenacious.

Be a salty kinda gal…and may the Lord ever say of you, “she’s so salty”. For salt is the sweetest thing in the world.

However much the world degenerates, man shall never find worms in salt.

– Nigerian Proverb

For God’s Glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.