Yesterday I had a domestic urge to make cookies.  Fortunately — or maybe unfortunately?–  I generally have all the ingredients on hand.  What girl’s kitchen doesn’t have flour, sugar, and chocolate chips?

This particular recipe is extra wonderful due to large quantities of vanilla extract, so it was ironic that of all the ingredients to forget, it was precisely that one I forgot.  When I tasted the batter, I thought it tasted a little flat — it didn’t have the usual depth of flavor (do I sound like I’m on the Food Network?), and it wasn’t until I was putting something away in the cabinet that I saw the vanilla and realized my omission.  With two dozen cookies already on the sheets, I shrugged and dumped a bunch of extract in the bowl, stirring it up and hoping for the best.

The cookies without the vanilla aren’t horrible, by any means.  But those with the vanilla (with a nice, hearty amount of vanilla…) are richer.

It reminded me of my dinner a few nights ago.  Again, feeling domestic, I made chicken and dumplings.  (We won’t mention my semi-nervous breakdown when it all boiled over and scalded my stove drip pans because I don’t own a 3-quart saucepan.)  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great either.  I realized later that I hadn’t salted anything.  I added salt to the leftovers, and boom!  Heightened taste.

(Let’s all pray that those crazies out there don’t outlaw salt.)

Isn’t it interesting how two little ingredients — vanilla extract and salt — can do so much?  Just a pinch of NaCl, and you have a completely transformed dish.  A splash of vanilla extract, and you have a deeper flavor of already scrumptious ingredients.

Perhaps that’s what Jesus was thinking of when he told us we are to be the salt of the earth.  Maybe he was thinking of a meal that Peter’s mother-in-law made them all where she neglected to properly salt the fish.  It was edible, but there was something missing. There was a greatness to the dish that was lacking.

As Christians, we have the secret of living life abundantly.  Far from restrictive, new life in Christ gives us a joyful freedom that our pagan brothers and sisters can’t even imagine. It’s the map in the mine field, the instructions to the complicated machinery.  CHRIST IS RISEN!  And what are our brothers and sisters in this world doing?  They’re living miserable existences, looking for love.  Looking for truth.

We may not do anything dramatic for our coworkers or our neighbors. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. It can be small, barely visible. In fact, can you imagine many things smaller than a grain of salt?

Life can be monotonous.  Days can drag on.  They can be edible, but boring and lacking pizazz.

Christ doesn’t want us to go through life like that.  He doesn’t just want us to live a chocolate-chip cookie life– He wants to add some vanilla extract.

We’re salt.  And it’s time to give this world some high-blood pressure.