“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NIV)
This little nugget of two verses stood out to me as I was trying to figure out what to write about. Full confession: when I haven’t steeped myself in the discipline of going to God in a specific quiet time, it’s not as easy for me to write an FYI article. With all that’s been going on my life, my quiet times have suffered! So I was perusing the Bible a bit last minute, praying to God, what do you want me to say? These verses just stuck out — they’re such a good reminder of how to speak and communicate with others in way that spreads the salt.
The Amplified version translates “outsiders” as “non-believers” and “everyone” as “each one that questions you.” Starting graduate school, I’m both excited and terrified at the thought of having so many opportunities for conversation with non-believers that could very well include questions about my faith. And yet, I kind-of prayed for this, or at least felt convicted that I hadn’t necessarily been seeking them out. If they did present themselves, I was shying away from them. What I like about this verse is the reminder that even if I’m questioned, I should always be full of grace and “seasoned with salt.” That is how I’ll know how to conduct myself and answer.
But what does it mean to be seasoned with salt? I think this is where having those quiet times to really download from the Spirit come into play. I can’t have properly seasoned conversations if I’m not getting seasoned myself! Saltiness is one of the six categories of taste, and it’s what we’ve been called to be. I find that these verses are, for me, God’s reminder that He misses spending time with me.
And while I know context is everything, I think that these verses can be applied to our conversations within the church (big or little “c”). We should make the most of every opportunity to be seasoned with grace and kindness and all those things that make us the salt of the world. How you treat your family or those whom you view as family should not be worse than how you treat outsiders. I’m so guilty of taking my family for granted and don’t always have the nicest words. This is especially true in times of high stress!
Colossians was written by Paul when he was in chains in prison. That’s definitely a kind of stress which puts my first world stress in its place. So I’m challenged to really make the most of every opportunity, and to spend time with God to be able to season those times with the right salt.
Miel can be reached by email here.