Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, buying up the opportunity. Let your word always be in grace, seasoned with salt, so as to know how you must answer each one.
What could make a vacationing pastor happier than to get news that, while he was away, at least two people professed faith in Jesus as a result of our July 4th praise in Powderhorn Park! One of them was in church on Sunday and took communion for the first time and prayed with David Livingston after the service.
It set me to thinking and praying about these verses in Colossians 4. Ask God to speak his word right into your heart as you read on. Then join those who are buying up the precious summer moments in the parks with salty praise.
“Walk in wisdom…”
Wisdom knows more than facts. It has a “feel” for how to use them for God’s good purposes. It has a “nose” for timing and tone and touch. And it is a gift of God that we should pray for with faith. “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God” (James 1:5).
Not everyone is in the kingdom. “Outside” is darkness and hopelessness and wrath. “God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (Colossians 1:13). And he means to use us to transfer others: “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent…for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10).
“…buying up the opportunity.”
Wise investors know when to buy and when to sell. They recognize a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Strike while the iron is hot. So it is with “time.” This unique time, this singular moment will never come again. It can be bought up for the kingdom or wasted. God says, “Buy it!” Invest in it. Don’t close your eyes and turn the other way. Buy this moment for the kingdom! Here’s how.
“Let your word always be in grace…”
The meaning is two-pronged: 1) let your words be rooted in grace as the wonderful place where you live and breathe; 2) let your words be gracious and attractive. These two meanings are like root and fruit. Growing from the root of grace and giving fruit in grace for others. To do this you need to really enjoy the “grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2). It’s hard to live it and talk it if you don’t love it. So fall in love again with God’s grace.
“…seasoned with salt…”
So you don’t have a zingy personality! Salt tastes different on steak, corn, watermelon and eggs. You must be you. But there is a salty you and a blah and boring you. God says, “Be salty.” Especially when you are talking about his grace to outsiders. How? Well, just talk as though what you are talking about really tastes good. “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8). We can’t fake it. So the real need is to fall in love again with the taste of God!
“…so as to know how you must answer each one.”
This is strange: “…speak with grace and salt so as to know how to speak…” That doesn’t seem to make sense. But I think it means this: knowing how to respond to outsiders will come from your eager commitment to live in grace and be a salty person for the kingdom. Wise and winsome words come from hearts that are relishing grace and savoring the salt of God’s utterly un-boring Son.
Savoring the salt with you this summer,