“Sharing the Gospel and making disciples should be a lifestyle, not just an event that we go to do from time to time.”
“Unfortunately, evangelism, if it is done, is frequently an event in our churches today.”
“God will give us opportunities every day if we will just pay attention to what he is doing around us.”
These are a few quotes from a conversation that I had with a friend of mine recently. We were talking about how we should conduct ourselves and look to take advantage of the opportunities that we have on a daily basis with the people that we come into contact with, even as we go about our regular lives.
I recounted to my friend something that I realized a few months ago as I had determined to go to a particular piazza to meet people there and share the Gospel. As I was on my way, I was stopped by 3 people asking how I was or asking for directions. Did I intentionally consider talking to any of these people about Christ? No, I didn’t. Why not? because I was on my way to do that in the piazza.
But why would I try to make an event out of sharing the Gospel with others in the piazza when I had people right here in front of me that I could connect with and share with them? It was because I was thinking of evangelism as an event, as something I was going out to do instead of just doing it as a normal part of my daily life. Ugh!
I was reminded of this as I read what Paul had to say this morning in Colossians 4:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 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.Colossians 4:2-6
The first thing that Paul tells the Colossians to do is to pray. They should be watchful and thankful in their prayer. They should be looking for, and asking for opportunities to proclaim Christ in their daily lives, and Paul asks them to pray also that God would open opportunities for him to proclaim Christ.
It is important to note here that Paul is in chains because he has been proclaiming Christ everywhere that he has gone. And now he asks the Colossians to pray that he would be able to continue to preach and proclaim the good news of Christ, just as he should, presumably even if it means that he would remain in chains even longer.
Next, Paul tells the Colossians to be wise in the way that they connect with outsiders. In other words, nonbelievers. They should look for the opportunities to be able to proclaim Christ to them, and they should look for ways to make the most of those opportunities.
Note that Paul doesn’t tell them to be ready or some other way that we frequently say this in our churches today. He says do it. He says that they should be wise and use their conversation. They should be thinking about how they can intentionally proclaim Christ in their conversation. They have watched and prayed for God to open doors for the message to go forward. Now, they should wisely use those open doors that God has provided to be able to share with others.
When they share, they should speak with grace, but season the conversation with salt. The conversation is “flavored” with the message of Christ so that others will know him through their everyday meetings. They should be intentionally flavoring those conversations and they should be ready to give answers for their faith when the questions come up. At the least, they should be ready to speak about what God has done in their lives. And we should do the same, and what is more, we should understand the scriptures so that we can explain the message of God’s redemption for each of us through Christ, giving answers for the questions that will likely come.
This is the mandate that we all have. We must look for the opportunities to share Christ with others through our normal lives. Not as an event. Not even as something that we go to do. And probably not even something that requires additional time, but done with the people that we meet every day. We should look for opportunities that God provides because he provides them each day. May we watch and give thanks for them as we pray.