zest

Christian Dior advocate, “Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest!”

Zest is an undeniably attractive quality. I’d not go as far as Christian Dior for I can think of kinds of beauty that attract with serenity rather than with zest. But even so, zest gets a great amount of favourable publicity, and rightfully so.

Most dictionaries indicate that there are two basic meanings of the word ‘zest’ as we use it today. Both of these meanings are suggestive of good things when we speak of zest as a personal characteristic.

1. Intense flavour. Zestful flavours are those that have some zing to them. The word ‘zest’ comes from an obsolete French word for orange or lemon peel, and we still use this to refer to the outermost part of the rind of citrus goodness! As someone who loves to dabble with food at home, I love zest as an ingredient in a recipe. But I love it even more when I people who have an intense and distinctive flavour. People with zest tend to be those who’ve thought about life and taken a definite stand for some things as opposed to others.

2. Spirited enjoyment. People with zest also live with a liveliness and eagerness that is lacking in people who are more bland. There is ‘kick’ in their outlook and ‘gusto’ in their manner of living. That doesn’t mean that they’re unprincipled or wayward, rather that they appreciate that there is much in this world to relish, and they’ve determined to taste all of its tanginess.

Zest is not a prerequisite for beauty, and likewise, it may not be a personal characteristic for everyone. Yet I believe there is a sense in which every person should look at life in a zestful way. As Bertrand Russell said, “What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life.” Life is too interesting, and too important, for us not to live it with eagerness and enjoyment. I reckon we’d do a better job of living if we put a little more kick into our philosophy.

Henry Ward Beecher said it this way:- “Mirth is the sweet wine of human life. It should be offered sparkling with zestful life unto God.” Is this the radiant and distinctive quality of your faith?