Grace & Salt?
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." - Colossians 4:5-6 NIV As Christians, we all want to make the most of the opportunities set before us. We want to be effective for the Kingdom of God; for the God who loved us and saved us. The trouble, however, is that we often feel ignorant as to how. Years of poor teaching have led us to the erroneous idea that we must all be evangelists of sorts; uncomfortably interjecting ourselves into conversations with who-knows-what canned speech or contrived questions. Ultimately leaving us discouraged and wracked with guilt for our poor performance. However, what the Apostle Paul, in just a few verses, seems to give us is an extremely practical and tenable approach to evangelism. First, he says that we need to be wise in how we act toward outsiders. Clarifying this further he says we are to "make the most of every opportunity." This has two parts. 1. Knowing our audience. Being wise and how we act toward outsiders means that we have to study them, we have to know who they are, and then we can apply that knowledge strategically. 2. We have to do what we can. Making the most of each opportunity means just that making the most of, not necessarily all of. It doesn't mean you have to close the deal on the people that you come in contact with. It simply means that you are to plant seeds and if a seed is already been planted then you water it and if you're in a fortunate position and it's time for harvest then you do just that. All in all, knowing our audience and doing what we can is what God expects. Second, Paul says to let our conversations be filled with grace. Have you ever been in a discussion with a person who was gracious to you despite your ignorance on the topic? For example, I'm often gracious with my five-year-old Sam during conversations although she has no clue what she's talking about. I'm not pitying her either. Rather I'm trying to be gracious until she gains proper understanding. This is the heart of Paul's instruction. He builds on this instruction by saying that our conversations need to be seasoned with salt. Take note, he doesn't say to be "salty". That would be the exact opposite of gracious. Instead, he says to be seasoned with salt in what we say. Too much salt and people will reject what you've put before them. Too little salt and they'll write it all off as mere human opinion. Just enough salt and the conversation will become rich and productive. Today's passage should ease some needless guilt that we have about evangelism, but it should also serve as a new and organic challenge as to how to actually go about it. Questions to Consider: How often do you share your faith? Is it organic in a conversation or does it feel contrived like a horrible sales pitch? How important is growing in your knowledge of God to evangelism? Can you expect to answer people if you've never given yourself to study and meditate on God's word?