Announced one news source: “The 36th week of 2009 will forever be known as ‘Trout Week’ in North America.” What happened? Two world-record trout were caught in the same week! First, Sean Konrad caught a rainbow trout weighing 48 pounds from Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan, Canada. He broke a record that had been held by his own twin brother. Four days later, Tom Healy caught a German brown trout weighing 41 pounds, 7 ounces from the Manistee River in Michigan, breaking a record that had stood for seventeen years.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matt. 4:19). This is what Paul had in mind in today’s reading. Just as he himself was committed to sharing the gospel, he wanted the Colossians to catch the same vision. The three imperative verbs in verses 5 and 6 boil down to an exhortation to witness. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders” reminds us that the church is the body of Christ, His testimony to a watching world. As Jesus Himself said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Paul was cautioning the believers not to do anything such as follow false teachers or get sidetracked on sensationalistic controversies that would compromise their witness.
“Make the most of every opportunity” encourages the Colossians to be watchful and eager for the open doors Paul had mentioned two verses ago. Nothing should stop them from proclaiming Christ—and coming from a man in prison, that exhortation meant a lot!
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” is a good idea in general, but an excellent idea when it comes to witnessing and apologetics. When we’re questioned about our faith, we need to know “how to answer everyone” in ways that stand firm for the truth but are at the same time gracious and polite (cf. 1 Peter 3:15–16). “Seasoned with salt” means that we share the gospel with winsomeness, not a contentious spirit.