Christian, how salty are you?
Edmund McIlhenny made a mountain of cash, confederate cash, that is. It turned out that his home on Avery Island, Louisiana, was sitting on millions of tons of salt, salt that was in high demand by the South during the Civil War. His saltworks about a hundred miles west of New Orleans became a major supplier for the Confederacy, with payment in its currency.
Why did the South need salt so badly? In those days (before refrigeration), curing meat with salt was the best way to preserve it. Otherwise, it would spoil before it could be eaten. Hungry troops aren’t effective. It’s been well said that generals from George Washington to Napoleon discovered that war without salt is a desperate situation.
At the height of the Civil War, the Union had a blockade along the south and east coast of the US consisting of 471 ships with 2,455 guns. This blockade prevented salt from reaching the South from outside sources. The South had to produce their own salt at saltworks like Avery Island.
As Union troops destroyed saltworks from Virginia, to Florida, to Texas, McIlhenny’s saltworks on Avery Island continued to produce much salt for the Confederacy. When Union troops finally showed up on April 17, 1863 and destroyed 18 buildings with their steam engines, Northern troops also destroyed 600 barrels of urgently needed salt that was about to be shipped throughout the South.
When the War ended, McIlhenny’s mountain of Confederate currency from salt sales was worthless. While seeking new business ventures, he encountered a war veteran by the name of Gleason who had spent time in Mexico. Gleason got McIlhenny excited about small red chili peppers. McIlhenny started growing these on Avery Island then mixed them with vinegar and Avery Island salt. When he died at age 75, he had built Tabasco sauce into a modest family business. The current CEO of McIlhenny Companyis his seventh direct descendent to guide the company. Today, this famous sauce is shipped around the world to 180 countries and territories. Every bottle contains Avery Island salt.
This salt enhances flavor, but it also preserves. The South, without sufficient salt to preserve meat was greatly weakened. When Christians aren’t salty, we just help the world rot. It’s doing a fine job of rotting; it doesn’t need our help doing that. Instead, we should preserve. Stand up for the truth of God’s Word in every area God speaks: biblical marriage, abstinence from alcohol as a beverage, high moral standards.
Why should we do this? To earn or keep our salvation? No. It is because we are saved. As saved people, we are to be different, not the same, as the world. We should be In the world, not of it. Let’s not be good-for-nothing. Let’s be salty salt.