Jesus said, "If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
"For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." Mark 9:42-50
One of the latest food crazes is salted caramel desserts. Folks are adding salt to sweet things to temper them, to bring out the flavors more profoundly, and to highlight by contrast the sweetness. Specialty salts are also very popular. When we were in Sitka, Alaska, there was a very flavorful salt from our island that had profound depth and a unique taste. It was expensive but only a little was needed because of it's intensity.
The disciples had been arguing about who was first among them and Jesus had put a small child in their midst. They are still trying to fathom his words. He reminds them of the importance of humility and sacrifice. They all needed to be tempered to bring out their unique gifts. Their willingness to be humble and sacrificial would make them truly whole. God invites us to be tempered and humble, to offer up those things that pull us away from being loving and at peace with our neighbors.
Today I ask God to help me offer up those things that get in the way of service and peace. May we live, willing to be tested and tried for the sake of others. May our lives always bring peace to the world around us as we let go of the pride that can destroy us.