Look before you leap. A stitch in time saves nine. A penny saved is a penny earned. These well-known proverbs help to pass down accumulated knowledge in ways that are easy for us to remember. Sayings like these are one way people communicate wisdom from one generation to the next, helping younger people navigate life well.
Paul knew that the young Colossian church needed God’s wisdom. He opened the letter with a prayer that God would “fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way” (1:9–10).
As Paul ends the letter, he returns to this important theme. The focus in our passage is on how the church relates to those outside the faith. Believers should avoid two pitfalls in their relationship with the world: insulating themselves entirely from the world or assimilating with it so closely that there is no discernible difference. This relationship would involve making difficult choices as the church is facing each new situation.
Wisdom would help them make the best use of their time and their words. Paul encourages the church to “make the most of every opportunity” (v. 5). A new age had dawned with the resurrection of Jesus, and He could return at any moment. The church should live with this sense of urgency and mission. As Moses reminded Israel, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). For Paul, making the most of every opportunity meant faithfully sharing the gospel. He exhorts the church to have winsome and engaging speech with those outside the faith. The goal is to live and act in such a way that people will have questions. When they do, be ready (v. 6)!
What about you? Have you ever felt like you missed an opportunity to share Christ? Did you look back and wished you had said or done something different? Pray that the Lord will help you “make the most of every opportunity” today. Ask Him to help you be sensitive to the opportunities and to act wisely when they come.