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The Right Amount of Seasoning

When I was a child my mom often went to work very early in the morning before I even woke up. This meant that my stepfather had to feed us breakfast. Often when my mom was at work she would phone us before we went to school. One morning when we sat down to eat, we had oatmeal. I typically enjoyed oatmeal but that morning when I took a bite I had to spit it out. It tasted terrible. There was no way I could eat it as it was so salty that it was unpalatable. Thankfully my mom called that morning to check in on how everything was going.

"How's breakfast?" She asked.

"It's bad," I quickly responded. "The cereal tastes terrible."

"Run and let me talk to Ron," she said. "Let me see what happened."

I gave the phone to my stepdad.

She asked him some questions to see what he'd done when he made breakfast.

Soon he gave the phone back to me. "Don't eat the cereal," she said. "He added too much salt to it. Throw it away and get something else to eat."

I was thankful to comply. That morning we ate cold cereal for breakfast.

As this story ran through my mind I couldn't help thinking about how this relates to us. Over the years, I have run into people whose only emotion seems to be laughter. They crack jokes and laugh all the time even when they are supposed to be serious. Laughter is great but there is a time and place for it. Imagine how someone would feel if people began laughing at a funeral or during scripture readings at church or if a pet was just run over by a car and someone began cracking jokes. These are not appropriate times for laughter. Just as one Tablespoon of salt can ruin a bowl of oatmeal, laughter, if used too much, can ruin things socially. It can leave a sour taste in our mouth and offend and hurt people. May we be people who have wisdom and discerment about when to laugh and crack jokes and when to be serious.

In Matthew 5:30 during the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

If salt is unsalty it is worthless as it can no longer season the food we eat and make it tasty. However, using too much salt can also be terrible. Just as my dad confused the difference between one Tablespoon of salt and one teaspoon of salt, we too can become confused with our laughter. When we laugh at everything and never allow ourselves to become serious, to cry or to feel sad emotions, we lose touch with how best to communicate with people. Socially we do not fit in and people begin to feel uncomfortable and upset. What once was fun and enjoyable suddenly loses its taste and pizzazz.

We need to be people who use our seasonings with care. Remember laughter is like medicine. It can lighten and brighten the mood when used in small doses but in large doses, if it is used with everything, it can spoil things. May we be people who have discernment and use laughter with the wisdom and grace God intended.

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