It’s that time of year again! As temperatures drop and days get shorter, that can only mean one thing: hunting season is upon us! Squirrel and pigeon hunters have already started and archery season for big game begins next week.
September and October were busy months at my dad’s taxidermy shop, as customers were picking up their mounts from last season and preparations were in full swing for the next one.
Dad had a lot of witty sayings that I find myself repeating on a regular basis. One of them was particularly concerned with taxidermy. When people asked him about his line of work, he explained how industrious he was and how the only thing that happened without effort was deterioration. If the game was not attended to quickly, he would rot, wasting the trophy and infuriating the sportsman.
This reality required Dad’s attention for every animal he brought. They had to be skinned as soon as possible and the skins salted or frozen. Due to the size and bulk of the deer he received, freezing was not an option, so all layers and skins had to be heavily salted.
My brothers and I assist with this duty and God only knows how many tons of this element have passed through our hands over the years. This basic chemical drew excess moisture from the hides and preserved them until they could receive more attention later.
Dad often reminded us of the importance of working the salt into every fold and crevice. If the skin is not unrolled, stretched or opened and the salt applied, that part of the skin will rot and the hair on the opposite side will fall out, thus ruining the trophy.
Great care was taken to ensure that all skins were abundantly salted. Because salt was relatively cheap, we generally erred on the side of caution to make sure it didn’t lose its skin. Except for a few that were brought in too late and were already spoiling, I don’t recall any problems with decomposition after the pelts came into Dad’s custody.
Salt is also used to cure hams and other meats and preserve them for human consumption. But the salt must reach the meat. Failure to do so will result in product spoilage and waste again.
This simple preservation technique reminds us of the importance of bringing the salt of God’s Word into all facets of our lives. While we may only attend church once or twice a week, this preserving influence must be applied every day and in every way.
God’s Truth is not just for the spiritual aspect of our lives, but needs to be worked on in our finances, our emotions, our relationships, our jobs, our athletic endeavors, our entertainment, and all other areas. If there is an area it doesn’t touch, that area will begin to decay and the decay will spread to other healthy portions until all are lost.
Jesus encouraged his followers to be salt too. And while it certainly implies that we should make the world more palatable, the real implication of it was for preservation. We live in a putrid and decadent world.
Sin produces pain and conflict all around us. Christians need to extend the influence of Jesus into all aspects of our culture so that souls are saved and lives are preserved. The teachings of Jesus must touch not only our churches, but also our businesses, marriages, education, government, the arts, politics, entertainment, science, and all other facets. Wherever the influence of Jesus is absent, decline begins and total loss is not long in coming.
As our world decays into greater discord and decadence, the need for Christians to spread the preserving influence of Jesus Christ increases every day. Let’s each do our part to work the salty truth into every nook and cranny of what we touch today.
Salty blessings, George
George Bowers is the Senior Pastor of the Antioch Church and is the author of 19 books, including Blessings Volume 3, which is a collection of these articles. It is available from Four Star Printing, Shenandoah Stuff and Woodstock Gardens. He can be reached at www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.