As we share our stories with our friends, we can pray that they will apply some of the ideas and lessons we have learned toward their own lives. We’ll need wisdom overseeing us, desire to inspire others, grace framing our words, and courage to sprinkle some 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.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
What does it mean for our conversations to be full of grace and seasoned with salt? I was able to hear Darin Latham speak this week on agape, which is unconditional love. God is agape. And we are to have this agape love for God and for others. Full of grace. Toward others. In every conversation. I was so encouraged by his words, and today when I read Colossians 4:5-6 Darin’s words echoed in my mind.
How do you answer people with whom you disagree or who have diverse views; those who are outside your group? Paul is writing here of how to deal with those who are ‘outsiders.’ In the context of the Colossian church, these are people outside the church. Pretty simple, eh?
Be wise: Use your experience and knowledge and judgement together – that’s wisdom – in dealing others. Don’t expect them to be like you or underestimate their intelligence or misread their commitment level. Be wise. Think the best of them. Want to learn about them. Invest in understanding them. Approach others with wisdom. As you would want to be approached.
Make the most of every opportunity: Don’t be lazy. We’re so busy and tired and whatever that many times we don’t want to make the most of every opportunity. Many times, we would prefer to simply put the earbuds in and tune out. Or just not engage. You hear the statement that you should answer, and you let it pass. You don’t enter in. You don’t invest in the payoff. What’s the payoff? Deeper relationship. Sharing ideas. Introducing the ideas of Jesus. Make the most. Don’t give up the chance you will never get back.
Full of grace: Good thing Paul mentioned this. Full of grace. Because making the most of every opportunity could lead us to be over-zealous and abrasive and forceful with a message of love and grace and forgiveness. We want people to know about the agape love of God. Not fire and brimstone or judgement. So… full of grace. Respecting others. Respecting outsiders.
Seasoned with salt: Once we have wisdom overseeing our conversation, motivation stirring us to make the most of our time with others, and grace framing our words, we can sprinkle some salt into the mix. The salt is the truth of God’s perspective. The salt of God accentuates flavour and preserves the goodness of life. Salt is the taste of the abundant life God sent Jesus to give us (John 10:10).
Sprinkle it in.
How do you sprinkle without wrecking the dish? I still remember being with a friend in grade 6. We went on a road trip to the Olympic Peninsula with his Mom. And as we sat in a restaurant somewhere in Washington State, he carefully loosened the top of the salt shaker. I was horrified. He was going to destroy the next patron’s meal. He said, “He probably deserves it…” Wrong idea. Bad logic. Mean-spirited.
Don’t pour the whole salt shaker on your conversation. You’ll ruin the meal. Enhance the flavour. Every time. Don’t pile on. One of the techniques I use to spread salt without wrecking my friend’s meal is to talk about myself. I use myself as the example. This week I shared with a colleague of mine the story of David while he was on the run from King Saul. I spoke of lessons I learned from that story about my own life and how I can honour God with my life and respect that God is in control. Message sent. Message received. Salty. With grace. Because I was the subject. The lesson was for me.
As we share those stories with our friends, we can pray that they will apply some of the ideas and lessons we have to share toward their own lives. Making the most. Every opportunity. That’s living agape toward others.
I’m in. Are you?