Stone Soup

A delightful, old french tale tells the story of three soldiers who approach a small village on their way home from the war. Noticing their approach, the greedy villagers conspire to hide their food, so as not to have to share with the soldiers. All the meat, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, milk and barley of the village are quickly hidden away. The tired and hungry soldiers, after consistently being turned down in their requests for food, devise a plan to trick the villagers into providing a meal. They begin to make stone soup …

I was fascinated by this story as a young girl, and one summer day I gathered a small pot and a shaker of salt from my mother’s kitchen and carried them outside to the back stoop. I filled the pot with water from the hose and set it in the sun to heat up. Then I went in search of the soup’s key ingredients … stones! Just like the soldiers in the story, I found three round, smooth, stones and placed them in the pot. Then I gathered and added the other ingredients for my soup, which would serve as replacements for the real foods that the villagers were tricked into providing. My ingredients consisted mainly of things I found in the backyard—twigs, flower petals, dandelion leaves, and wild berries.

My little girl imagination believed this to be the most delicious soup ever, and I cooked up many pots of stone soup that summer. Each creation was different, except for three ingredients—water, stones … and salt. Salting my soup was the best part of this whole adventure, because this is what would give my soup its flavor. I added the salt carefully and lovingly, imitating the way my grandmother and mother did it when they made our family’s favorite vegetable soup. They poured salt into the palm of one hand and with the other hand gathered a pinch at a time, sprinkling it slowly over the steaming pot. Once the salt was added, my stone soup was compete.

Even though I couldn’t really eat my stone soup, it certainly nourished the creative spirit of my childhood heart. And wonderfully, stone soup continues to serve as a principal recipe for my life as a beloved daughter of God. My pot is filled with the living water that streams from an intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My three stones are the solid rock foundation of my faith—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The remaining ingredients are my gifts and talents, which serve to give my life substance and meaning. And then, there is salt.

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

As daughters and sons in Christ, we are the royal seasoning of Heaven that God has lovingly sprinkled upon the earth. Just as salt is a preservative, we can preserve the souls of countless others with our Gospel witness—the saltiness that speaks to and encourages those that dare to taste the unconditional love of our Creator. We are a key ingredient in God’s plan for the redemption of the human race, and if we become complacent and lose our flavor, we will be useless in this marvelous opportunity to join with him in the establishment of his eternal Kingdom.

If this recipe is followed carefully, our flavorful pot of humanity will, like the soldiers and villagers of that old french tale, sit down together at our Savior’s table to enjoy a sumptuous, celebration feast!

I want to be useful. I want my soup to be bursting with flavor. In fact, I want to kick up my saltiness a notch … bring on the jalepeno!

Prayer ~ Thank you, Abba, for creating me to be full of spice and flavor. Let my saltiness season the earth with every footstep, enticing others to taste of your goodness and love.

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