As Paul brings his letter to the Colossians to a close, he gives them a few last Godly reminders along with honorable mentions of the people working with him. Paul asks for prayers on his behalf that he would be provided with opportunities to continue to preach the gospel even as he is imprisoned for doing so.
Paul, in the same context, then tells the believers in Colossi to “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (Col. 4:5 ESV). I like how God’s Word translation states it: “Be wise in the way you act toward those who are outside the Christian faith. Make the most of your opportunities.”
Paul certainly is mindful of his responsibility to spread the gospel, but he also understands that it does not rest solely upon him and other Christian leaders. Every believer plays a part in sharing the message.
Notice that we are instructed by God to be “wise” in how we interact with others. It should not cause offense or disgust, but rather should afford us with opportunities to share God’s love and truth. This suggests that our methods might change with times and culture. I personally do not like to have things shouted at me on a street corner, nor do I like a stranger coming to my door to convict me that I am going to hell unless I join their religion. Those methods would not be “wise” interactions with me.
I like a relational approach. I like people being friendly and loving in their tone and manner. I like building friendships where we can begin to talk about things we wonder about. I like hearing about how my friend has found some hope that I haven’t yet found.
I think that is where Paul is leaning with God’s directive. Paul says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” The Good News Bible translates it like this: “Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.”
We should spread the gospel message in encounters with non-believers in ways that are received as pleasant and interesting. That’s how my attention is won; with grace and salt. I don’t want a used car salesman’s approach; I want a friend’s approach.
The positive thing about this is that most of us know how to be friendly and nice, don’t we? We strike up a friendly conversation with a co-worker, neighbor, or someone you run into from time to time. We begin to get to know them, and when the time is right, we share a little about the truth. We sprinkle it into our conversation like salt. It is that easy.
Sharing the gospel is not a big production that takes years of preparation and practice. It is simply choosing to be kind to those around you and wisely sharing what you have come to understand in Christ.
I think we can do that.