Hardening of the Outeries

To celebrate Richard and my one month anniversary, I carefully planned a special meal.  My main course would be macaroni and cheese.  I fixed garlic bread, a big toss salad with the Rizzo dressing along with pie a la mode as dessert.  All I lacked to my first multi-course meal was soup.  While I knew he liked chicken noodle soup, we’d chosen to maintain a vegetarian table.  So I decided I would throw together the ingredients I’d seen my mother use for a fake chicken noodle soup: noodles, scrambled eggs, olive oil, and McKay’s chicken style seasoning.  I brought the water to a boil and added the amount of McKay’s recommended on the bottle.  I eyed the gray dirty dishwater colored mixture critically.  It looked putrified. I added a pinch more of the seasoning…and more…and more…and more until the water held a golden hue.  Satisfied, I tossed in the noodles and eggs, turned on our tiny stereo to our ‘song’, turned out the lights and lit the candles on the table; then slipped on my sheer and shimmery red baby doll p.j. and ran a brush through my hair.  When I heard him enter our tiny honeymoon apartment, I rushed to my young husband, kissed him, tossed his briefcase on the sofa, and seductively led him to the table.

I then hurried to the stove,  ladled out two generous bowls of my chicken noodle soup and placed one bowl in front of him and the other at my place.  “Go ahead and start without me,” I urged. “I need to take the casserole out of the oven before it burns.”

When I returned to the table with the main course, he held the soup spoon in his right hand and stared down at the bowl of soup.  “How do you like it?” I asked as I sat down across from him.  “Well,” he gulped, slowly looking over at me, “it’s different.” “What do you mean, different?”  I took a sip, gagged and showered the floral arrangement in the center of the table.  That soup was the saltiest brine I’d ever put into my mouth.  It literally put my teeth on edge!  “That’s terrible!” Coughing and sputtering, I removed the bowls from the table and dumped them into the sink.

Over the years,  I learned three valuable lessons from that soup: 1. Richard, a real gentleman, would rather gag on my atrocious soup than offend me;  2. Looks can be deceiving.  Follow the directions printed on the jar;  3. A little more profound–When a well-meaning Christian doesn’t follow God’s directions, when she adds her own amount of seasoning to the broth of Christian witness, she can become too salty for consumption.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.”  Matthew 5:13 NIV  While adding too much salt to one’s diet can make my soup hard to swallow and can cause ‘hardening of the arteries.’  So, my too salty witness can not only be difficult to swallow but can cause ‘hardening of the outeries,’ blocking the flow of the life-giving blood of Jesus Christ to reach the heart of the receiver.


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