By Randy Petersen, American Bible Society
Lord, thank you for the life-changing power of your Word. Help me to obey your Word, so that my ways may please you and lead others to you.
Be wise in the way you act toward those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.
There are times when you have to go out for a walk. Maybe you’ve been cooped up in your home or office all day, sneaking peeks out the window. You need that breath of fresh air, so you stroll down to the corner market for a tasty snack.
That’s the feeling we find here in the last chapter of Colossians. Up till now, this epistle has been an inside job, dealing with false teaching inside the church and proper behavior toward other believers, but here Paul turns his eyes outward.
A literal rendering of the Greek for verse 5 would read, “Walk around in wisdom in front of those who are outside.” The smoother modern translations clarify that this is wise living in the sight of those who are outside the church, but the outdoorsy theme continues in the following phrase. Making the most of opportunity is literally “buying up the moments,” as if we’re at the market when something goes on sale. Verse 6 invites us to speak with grace and flavor (literally, “prepared with salt”), and to respond properly to these outsiders, cutting through the distractions to discern what each person really needs.
This passage can guide us as we seek to share the good news of God’s love with our neighbors in Kansas City. Our interactions should be “pleasant
and interesting,” characterized by wisdom and insight. A one-size-fits-all evangelism approach might not do the trick. We need to discern the question in the heart of each person, and respond appropriately in the moment.
Sometimes when you go out after working inside for a while, you have trouble seeing at first. Your eyes need to adapt to the new environment. Some of us in the church have the same problem. We don’t know how to talk with outsiders. But with God’s grace we can adjust. With God’s wisdom we can say what people need to hear.
Go for a walk—in the neighborhood around your church, your home, your workplace, or your children’s school. Talk with God about the people there. Consider how you might adjust your vision to see the needs and concerns of those outside the church.
Lord, I know how much you love the people of this world. Fill me with that love. Help me to see them with your eyes. Help me to care with your heart and speak with your wisdom.