The apostle Paul had some final instructions that he gave to the Colossians at the end of his letter. He began his instructions with these words: (Colossians 4:2) “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” We have been focussing on prayer for the first part of this year and hopefully you have grown in your understanding of prayer and your prayer life has become more than a ritual but a lifestyle. The words “being watchful” jumped out at me. I looked up the verse in other translations and the Message said, “stay alert with your eyes wide open.”
Are your eyes wide open? Are you looking for where God is working so you can join him?
The instructions continue and Paul goes on to say; “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (verse 5) That verse goes back to why we need to be watchful and have our eyes wide open, what opportunity is right in front of you that you can make the most of? Sometimes, we need to take the opportunity to care for a neighbor or follow through on an idea we have to reach out to someone that we know is in need. It may be very obvious, and we need to take it. And sometimes we need to make an opportunity. Put yourself in places where you can meet people. Go to the same coffee shop. Hang out in the front yard instead of the back yard. Organize a “schools out” block party. Offer to water the plants or take care of the neighbors pet while they go on summer vacation. Instead of waiting in the car at the pick up line after school, park your car, get out and see what other parents you can talk to.
Are you making the most of every opportunity?
And Paul wraps up those final instructions with these words: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt…” (verse 6) It does not take too much salt to change the taste of food. It just takes a little grace, showing up in conversations without judgement, giving away love that is not deserved, to make a difference. Are we able to extend care to the people in our lives without expectation of anything in return? Can we make the most of every opportunity and be full of grace without an agenda for how we want people to behave? Will we continue to pray by name for those people that we know that are not following Jesus? And are we ready to be part of the answer to our prayer, that God would give us an opportunity to be the ones to speak the truth about the Good News of Jesus Christ?
The final part of the sentence in verse 6 is … so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (verse 6) That does not mean that you need to have all the answers. Perhaps you will just ask them the next question, so they can further discover for themselves what they are looking for. You just need to be ready to share your story. What have you seen and heard as you have followed Jesus? The woman at the well knew enough after meeting Jesus to go and tell her whole village. She did not know everything, but her life was forever changed after meeting Jesus. Have you met him? Do you know him? Has he made a difference in your life? Does it matter if your neighbor knows him?
Spring is here, people are once again out and about. What opportunity are you praying for as a lifeGroup or an individual? We just finished celebrating the truth that the tomb is empty and Jesus lives! We have the greatest news to share! And that news that Jesus lives makes an eternal difference.