An inquirer reportedly asked a late first-century rabbi what to salt tasteless salt with; he responded, "The afterbirth of a mule". In that society everyone knew that mules are sterile; the point is, "You ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer. Salt can't stop being salt!" But of course if it were to do so, it would no longer be of any value as salt.[i]
But, can we lose the good that God does in us? Can we lose the vital flavor of God’s presence?
Jesus said that a good reward would come from hardship and suffering when we are identified with Him. What does suffering with Jesus produce in us? John Piper said, “The saltiness is the taste of joy in hardship. This is unusual life that the world can taste as different.” [ii]
The taste of joy in hardship—have you experienced that? It is very rare. It is the flavor that a world in struggle needs. How can we find joy in the midst of struggle and sorrow? If we become like Jesus, we will bring the taste of Jesus to others.
There is a flavor to be gained by following Jesus. Your transformed life becomes a gift to a bland world. The salt in you is a preservative and a healing agent. But there are other things going in our lives as well.
Salt losing its saltiness ‘is a metaphor based upon the salt commonly used in Jesus' day, which was not a pure product at all, but mixed with other elements. If the true salt had been leached out, only a worthless residue was left, a perfect metaphor of the Christian who has lost his identity with the Lord.’ [iii]
There is nothing more bland and useless than a Christian who is not following Jesus. The vital presence has disappeared and the leftover elements of their life cannot be recycled. There is no fitting place for a Jesus follower who stops following. Jesus wants us to hear the message that our lives will not make sense if separated from Him.
[ii] John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, Baker Academic Publishing http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/to-prosperity-preachers-preserve-the-salt-and-light