February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“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, emphasis added)
Have you ever heard the expression, “Carpe diem”? It’s Latin for “seize the day!” Maybe you’re more familiar with YOLO (you only live once). The whole idea is we shouldn’t waste the time we’ve been given and instead make the most of each day.
In today’s passage, Paul gives us similar advice but for different reasons. For Paul, seizing the opportunities presented each day isn’t about packing in enjoyment, pleasure, riches, and experiences for ourselves. It’s about God and others!
The advice Paul gives to “make the most of every opportunity,” is sandwiched between two instructions:
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders.”
Making the most of every opportunity is directly tied to the way we treat and interact with those who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Savior. So, these opportunities he’s referring to are opportunities to draw people to Jesus, to be His hands and feet, to plants good seeds, and to make the gospel attractive. So, how do we do that?
“Let your conversation be always full of grace.”
Anytime we talk to someone who doesn’t know Jesus, they should leave feeling as though they were loved well, heard, valued, and shown empathy and respect. Your speech should feel like balm, gentle and exhibiting humility in every word. They should feel a peace and uplifting they can’t explain. People should be able to see there’s something unique and deeply beautiful about the way we speak to and treat them. And that unique, beautiful thing is the presence of Christ in us, our good shepherd who is “gentle and lowly in heart,” who uses us to bring “rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29 ESV).
“Seasoned with salt”
Salt makes things taste better; it brings out the best in food. It brings depth of flavor, which produces greater enjoyment. In essence, when someone who doesn’t know Jesus leaves a conversation with you, a believer, they should be left with a good taste in their mouth. We should have added something valuable and palatable to their life. We should have enhanced their life in some way, flavored it with something irresistible. And that irresistible thing is the gospel, even if they don’t yet realize it! In order to do that, we must be wise in our speech.
What does that look like? In Titus 3:1–2 (NIV), Paul gives some more detailed instructions on what making the most of these opportunities looks like, saying, “Remind the people . . . to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”
Listen, I promise you that you will rock the world in ways you never thought possible if you walk in gentleness and humility! I’m talking being full of grace and considerate toward someone who is politically the opposite of what you believe, someone whose lifestyle, whose views on sexuality, gender, whose religious background you completely disagree with. I’m talking someone who is just really difficult to be around, someone who is nasty and rude and belligerent.
I pray that in a world full of outrage, Twitter feuds, trolling, and endless amounts of hate and vitriol, we could seize every moment given to us by God to breathe gentleness, goodness, and the grace and the love of Jesus into the hearts of those who don’t yet know Him.
Pause: What does your online conduct say about you? What about the way you talk to or treat people in stores, restaurants, or in traffic? Are you being wise in the way you act toward those who aren’t believers? Are you being gentle, full of grace, and seasoned with salt?
Practice: The next time you’re going into a conversation with someone who doesn’t know Jesus, pray first! Ask the Spirit to fill you with His wisdom, to help you, to breathe His presence and gentleness into the words you say, and to use you to bring about good in that person’s life and draw them to Jesus.
Pray: Father, by Your Spirit, make me gentler and full of grace for people, particularly those whom I disagree with. Help me to make the most of every opportunity to point people to the good shepherd, Your Son, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.