Salt and the Mission Kitchen - September 2022

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on September 21, 2022

I recorded the video devotion in the school kitchen two years ago. Watch it here.  

Our New Testament lesson (Colossians 4) talks about seasoning our conversations with salt. The Old Testament sacrifices were seasoned with salt. May our every conversation be an offering to our gracious God, seasoned with the salt of God’s grace, and used by him to draw people around us closer to the Savior. 

If you read my blogs regularly, you know that my constant prayer is, “Lord, reassure me again that the tomb is empty.” The personal nature of Paul’s concluding words is the Holy Spirit’s answer to my prayer today. The personal touch reassures me the author is Paul, a man who saw the risen Christ for himself, a man who was an eyewitness of Jesus as the Man in whom all the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:19), a man who can assure me that, through Christ, I am holy, blameless, and free from accusation (1:22).  

Notice the people with Paul…  

  • Tychicus – This man ties the prison letters together. Paul refers to him at the end of Ephesians too. He is the one who carries the letters to their recipients.
  • Onesimus – The runaway slave whom Paul returns to his master. The letter to Philemon which we will read in a few days is the third “prison letter” that Paul wrote during his first imprisonment in Rome.
  • Mark, the cousin of Barnabas – Do you taste the salt of God’s grace? This is the Mark who deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Paul didn’t trust him and didn’t want him on his second missionary journey. Yet, here is a man whose past failures are forgiven and becomes a trusted co-worker with Paul. Do you see in Mark a model of hope for you? Mark, the failure, is a person, (and you and I, the failures, are people) … “holy, blameless and free from accusation” because Christ died and rose again! (Colossians 1:22) Taste and enjoy the salt of God’s grace!
  • Luke – The Gentile who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Luke is the one who records Mark’s initial failure. Luke as the first church historian doesn’t sugar-coat church history. He acknowledges failures (Mark’s desertion and Paul and Barnabas’ falling out with each other). Even history is an opportunity to taste the salt of law and gospel for ourselves.
  • Nympha – A woman unknown to history but known to Paul and whose ministry as a spiritual leader is remembered and appreciated. 

Finally, notice how Paul reassured his first readers this was a legitimate letter from him. On the original document, he wrote the last line himself so that they would recognize his handwriting. 

In the video, I mention Paul’s “Mission Kitchen.” The four references to prayer in this chapter reminds me that each of you is with me and the rest of our team in our mission kitchen here at St. Paul’s when you pray for us. And I am a part of God’s Mission Kitchen when I pray for 

  • our Mission Partner John Holtz as he begins his new ministry as a counselor for our Native American Mission efforts and works on the Apache Mission field.
  • our Mexican Mission Partner Martin Valleskey as he serves on the Yucatan Peninsula as leader of our Costa Maya mission efforts. 
  • our mission partners at Garden Homes Lutheran Church and School and our Lighthouse Youth Centers in Milwaukee.

The fact that our prayers are essential is revealed in one last name from Colossians 4. Demas was with Paul and sent greetings. But near the end of Paul’s life, his story changes. “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me” (2 Timothy 4:10). 

Lord, Season Me with Your Salt so I Don’t Falter Like Demas

In our Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 31-33)  the LORD provides the seasoning of law and gospel.

  • Law: Calling the Israelites to repentance for trusting in the Egyptians to protect them from the Assyrians. 
  • Gospel: The LORD promising to arise in power to give his people peace. “No one living in Zion will say, ‘I am ill’; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven” (Isaiah 33:22). 

Isaiah’s prayer is my prayer for you: 

LORD be gracious to us;
    we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
    our salvation in time of distress. Amen
 (Isaiah 33:2). 

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