Many years ago, I went to a church where the pastor would regularly say, “If you only take one thing away from the message today, this is what I want you to remember.” He would then really emphasize his main point. That was helpful to me because I have a scattered, ADD, mind that runs all over the place. Sometimes I have to wrestle with my mind and force it to pay attention, so, when the pastor gave that verbal prompt, it helped me! For a few highly focused minutes, I would tune everything else out and lean intently into what he was saying. So, today, I say to you: if there is one thing I want you to take away from Colossians 4, it is this…..Followers of Christ should live with a constant awareness that every interaction is an opportunity. Simply put, believers either draw others toward God or they can drive them away. Paul says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time”(5). Outsiders are non-believers….those outside the church. So, what does it look like for believers to walk in wisdom toward non-believers? We need to engage them like Jesus did! Jesus saw the lost as sheep without a shepherd and he sought them out to spent time with them. When he engaged them, he talked about more than the weather. He didn’t squander his opportunities with people. He would discuss things like faith, sin, forgiveness, grace, scripture, history, religion, values, and of course….salvation! He found a way to reach their hearts and he offered them something better. It is so easy to begin to look at others with the wrong eyes and heart. We must be careful not to turn people away from belief in Jesus with our immaturity, carelessness, or our bad example. In fact, we should strive to live in a way that actually draws people toward Jesus! Paul says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person”(5,6). People are squirrelly, and they have all kinds of problems and issues. Does God really expect us to ALWAYS be gracious to everyone? That seems like a lot to ask. Can’t I at least get a pass on my bad days? Unfortunately, I believe the answer is no. After all, Jesus gave his life for us and he introduced us to a better life. No matter our beginnings, we now have a forever family. We belong, and we are deeply loved. We can never lose sight of what Jesus did for us because this is the fuel that produces a spirit of humility and gratitude in our hearts. We can walk through life focused on ourselves and always in a hurry, or we can slow down and sprinkle a little salt along the way. People desperately need Jesus….even if they don’t know it.
Director of Small Group & Lay Counseling Ministries