Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#80- Good Old Salt!

A Character story about dependability.

"I get so disgusted with that Karl," Jason fumed as he and Julie walked home from school. "He's only been here for two weeks and he thinks he can boss everyone around. If he tries it with me, I'll be strongly tempted to plow him."
"Really?" Julie answered. "I thought he was a really nice guy. The other girls-"
"I know what you're going to say. The other girls think he's cute and all that garbage. I think that's why he shows off so much- to impress them. I watched him. He's a totally different person when the girls are around."
"I don't mean to change the subject, but do you know the answer to the science question for tomorrow?"
"No, but I'll bet Dad will. Otherwise we're going to have to scrounge through the encyclopedia like the others. I sure don't want to miss the treat! Two of the guys already begged me to call them if Dad gives us the answer."
"Look, there's the car. Maybe Daddy's home early and we can get this all written up before supper."
"Hey, watch that ice on the doorstep," Jason warned. "I'd better throw some salt on it before someone gets hurt."
The twins entered the kitchen to find their mother peeling carrots. "Hi, Mom," Julie greeted. "Is Daddy home early? We have to ask him a question for science."
"I'm afraid you won't be able to bother him right now. He's coming down with a bad cold and has a very sore throat. Please try to be quiet so he can rest."
"I thought this might happen when he sneezed so much at breakfast this morning," Julie announced. "What time did he come home?"
"Oh, just a short time ago. He hasn't slept very long. That's why we need to be extra quiet right now."
Jason started for the dining room as he said, "I just hope he gets up sometime before we go to bed. We have to ask him a question for science. If we don't ask him, we'll have to look up the answer like the other kids."
"You'd better just look it up. I don't know that he'll feel like talking and, anyway, it wouldn't hurt-."
"What's this about a science question?" Mr. Jensen was standing in the doorway.
"Hi, Daddy," Julie greeted. "You sure don't sound too good. Mom says you have a bad sore throat. When I get that, Mom always tells me to gargle with saltwater."
Mr. Jensen chuckled and then sneezed. "She tells me the same. And I've been trying to do that, little mother, and to get some extra rest. But I heard you talking down here so I thought I'd come down to see what's up."
"We have a question for science that we have to find out by tomorrow. But if you don't feel like talking right now, it's O.K."
"I'll be all right. I'll just pull up a chair here. O.K. shoot."
"Well," Jason began, "it's kind of a riddle. The teacher asked, 'Salt is used to freeze ice cream and to thaw the road. How can this be?' In other words, how can salt make something cold and something else warm? The teacher is going to make home-made ice cream tomorrow and everyone who gets the answer gets an ice cream cone."
"Mmmm. Dad's too?" Mr. Jensen asked with a chuckle.
"I would save you some, Daddy," Julie promised, "but I don't think it would keep."
"That's all right. I was just kidding. Actually, the question is not difficult when we think it through. We know that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But when salt is added to the water, it lowers the freezing temperature of water several degrees, depending on how much salt you add. Let's say we add enough salt on the road so that the water will not freeze until it is below 17 degrees. If the ice temperature is warmer than this, then the ice cannot stay frozen and so it melts. Of course, there is a limit as to how much salt you can add. Actually 17 degrees Fahrenheit is about it. When it's colder than this, they use other chemicals or just tell everyone to stay home."
"I understand that," Julie assured her dad, "but how can salt make ice cream hard then?"
"When we made ice cream last summer, did we put the salt in the ice cream or in the ice bucket?" Mr. Jensen asked.
"In the bucket, of course."
"You see, the principle is the same. We put the salt in the bucket to melt the ice. But, don't forget, ice cannot melt without heat flowing into it. The salt in the ice bucket lowers the temperature at which the ice will freeze. This makes the ice melt but, because it's in a wooden bucket and has a small top, it can't get much heat from the air. So it takes the heat from the metal bucket next to it which contains the cream mixture. This makes the cream colder and pretty soon, if all goes according to plan, the cream becomes ice cream, and the ice becomes saltwater."
"Hey, that's neat," Jason responded. "So the salt is melting ice both times. On the road they're more concerned about getting the ice melted, and in the bucket the main thing is getting the heat from the cream."
"You got it exactly. But before you write up your answer, let me add one thing more. Jesus said in Mark 9, 'Have salt in yourselves.' I don't know, but I imagine there are a number of kids in school who have hard hearts because of sin and rebellion." Julie glanced over at Jason and mouthed the name Karl. Jason nodded back. "The Lord wants you if possible to be salt in their lives. Your words, attitudes, and actions should work toward softening their hearts, because they see you're different and have answers they need."
"You mean like answers to the science question?" Julie asked.
"No. I mean answers to far more important questions like, 'Where did I come from?', 'Why am I here?', and 'Where am I going?' People have been asking these questions for centuries, and Jesus Christ alone gives the true answers."
"I wouldn't know how to answer those," Julie admitted.
"Sure you would. Who made you?"
"God made me."
"Right. That's where you came from. Why did He make you? What does it say in First Corinthians 10:31?"
"I remember that from AWANA," Jason said. "Do all to the glory of God."
"Right. We are to glorify God in everything we do. That's our purpose in life. And when you accept the free gift of eternal life in Christ, where do you go after this life?"
"Heaven," the twins answered in unison.
"See, you did know the answers." Mr. Jensen sneezed and then blew his nose. "Excuse me. Now, let's see, oh yes, when people refuse God's ways, they turn to their own ways. As a result, many people struggle through life without meaning or purpose and without hope of heaven. When you demonstrate the love of God to others, you are acting just like salt to soften their hearts and show them God's ways really are best."
"Thanks, Dad," Jason said. "There's a special reason I needed that lesson right now." Just then Mr. Jensen began to cough again.
"Back to bed for the science teacher," Mrs. Jensen said with a smile. "And don't forget to gargle with saltwater."
"Yah, at least then your throat won't freeze up," Julie giggled.
"Speaking of freezing up," said Jason as he stood, "I'd better get out there and put some salt on the front step. Then let's write up our answer. I can almost taste that ice cream now!"