Saturday, August 13, 2011

Walking Evangelistically

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

5 Ἐν σοφίᾳ περιπατεῖτε πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω τὸν καιρὸν ἐξαγοραζόμενοι.

I know that I tend to gloss over some of these short exhortations near the end of Paul's epistles. I feel like I got most of the meat earlier and now I'm just getting bits of potato with gravy. But I think we make a big mistake if we overlook this short verse. The verb περιπατεῖτε is in the imperative and while it technically does mean "walk," it has the sense of lifestyle. In other words, Paul is telling the Colossians that their lifestyles should be wise toward outsiders. I also take τὸν καιρὸν ἐξαγοραζόμενοι to mean that we should seize any opportunity to show or share Christ with τοὺς ἔξω, or "those who are outside." The word ἐξαγοραζόμενοι is a present participle, so that gives a sense that it is something we should routinely do.

I think about how I interact with my neighbors. Do I take care of my house? That's part of my witness toward them. How do I interact with my coworkers? Do I do the best job I can? That's part of my witness. Do I tip well at restaurants? Am I polite with people who help me at restaurants and stores? That doesn't necessarily mean that I get to a gospel presentation every time, but I want my way of life to be wise toward outsiders.

Do we really believe the second half of this verse? It is not hard to imagine seeing a bunch of cars outside a neighbor's house one day only to find out that someone died. Did I share the gospel with that person? Or maybe a coworker quits or gets fired before I can share the gospel with him. Am I looking for opportunities and making the best use of the time or am I being lazy?

This is really convicting for me. It is one more reason why I need to work as hard as I can at the office. It is something I am prayerfully improving upon lately, but there is still room to grow. Ultimately it comes down to the gospel. Do I believe it enough to prayerfully change my life so that I can share it effectively?

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