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Some time ago I was in Poland to take a service in Krakow. Friends kindly took me to a World Heritage site just outside the city where salt has been mined for over 700 years.
It was a vast mine covering many miles and was reckoned to contain a sizable forest in timber as pit props. Our guided tour took us round a tiny fraction of the mine but we saw vast chapels cut out of the mine and numerous statues carved out of salt. The salt was black and very hard.








We were told that many years ago salt was a great asset to Poland and that at one time it was more valuable than gold. A hospital in the mine sleeps 60 people each night – the salt atmosphere is good for the respiratory system.
Roman soldiers used to have pay (or part of it) in salt, because in hot countries it helped their sweat glands. So this regular supply of‘salt’ gave us the word ‘salary’.


That such a humble commodity should be more valuable than gold appears strange in today’s market. Gold is important in the financial and jewellery markets, but of itself it never fed anyone. It has fuelled wars, thefts and murders. The Lord says that the trials and difficulties that Christians face are more precious than gold that perishes. That might sound strange to some – most people would rather have gold than a trial.





When we view the preciousness of Jesus Christ and what He has done for poor sinners in bearing their sin, we then see things in His light, and understand that nothing is as precious as knowing our sin forgiven and being right with God. The trials that follow are but opportunities to follow Christ and glorify His Name until He comes or call us home. These are things more precious than gold or salt.







Written: James Mansfield

Acknowledgement:  ‘CHEERING WORDS’ ANNUALS 2015

Photography:  Tom Wells

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