Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13, King James)
I had something odd happen yesterday that has given me a different perspective on this though. This makes for a strange analogy though so consider yourself warned.
For several years, I have practiced "sinus irrigation" to help me with my allergies and sinus problems. A sort of odd thing to do, this practice has drastically reduced my number of sinus infections each year. When you irrigate your sinuses, you pour a solution into one nostril which then circulates through your sinuses, coming out the other nostril, typically carrying a lot of "stuff" with it. (I hope you're not reading this too early in the morning.)
For many years, I used a product called Alkalol to do this but, a year or so ago, I switched to a product called Sinus Rinse which is a little packet of stuff that you mix with water and then squirt into your sinuses. It creates a saline solution which means that it has salt in it. As odd as this all sounds, it is a very soothing and pleasant experience to clean out your sinuses with this solution.
Yesterday morning, I went through all of this but, when I squirted the solution into my nose, it felt like my head was being driven up through the bathroom ceiling. The pain was incredible. My eyes turned red immediately and I had the most horrible burning sensation that you can imagine -- right inside my head. For several seconds, I wasn't sure what was going on ... or if I'd ever recover. I tell you -- it really hurt.
I came to the conclusion that something must have been wrong with the little packet of stuff that I mixed with water. It had to be too strong! I had to contact the manufacturer and warn them so they could do a recall or something! I didn't want anyone else to suffer this same feeling.
I started looking around frantically to find the packet because I was pretty sure that each packet had a production code on it. I looked in the trash can and couldn't find it. That was odd because I normally always throw the packet into the trash can after I empty its contents into my squirt bottle of water. Then, I glanced down at the bathroom countertop and there sat the package -- unopened.
I had messed up and forgotten to add the salt packet to my water so what I had squirted deep into my sinuses, resulting in unbelievably intense pain, had been just plain tap water.
Wow, salt, the thing that I thought had an "edge" or a "bite" to it was actually the ingredient that soothed my sinuses and made them feel better each morning. When the salt was withheld -- when the solution being squirted into my nose lost its saltiness -- then I was left writhing in pain.
This made me reflect a lot on Matthew 5:13. The King James version uses the word "savour" which does have a very soothing implication to it -- bringing out the full flavor of something, not necessarily adding a "bite" to it. Perhaps this was what was meant by not losing our "saltiness". I don't know that we're necessarily being called to be "feisty" for Jesus (that may fit the giftedness of some of us better than others, and that is great when it does) but instead we're being told to spread His love and His peace, to bring out the full flavor of Christianity in all things around us. When we lose our ability to do that -- our "saltiness," if you will -- then we have lost our godliness and our effectiveness as Kingdom-builders. We may as well be trampled underfoot at that point.