Read Colossians 4:2-6.
Now read it again, slowly and thoughtfully.
This text is simply one of the most clear and enlightening passages in all the New Testament as to what must be constantly going on in the lives of Christians who live in a world in dire need of Jesus. That’s quite a statement, I know, but I’ll stand by it.
However, except for vs. 5-6, the verses that speak directly to the point of our verbally sharing the good news of Jesus with those yet to believe, I’ve very rarely heard this passage discussed among Christians. Further, when I have heard it discussed, it is has almost always been divorced from it’s context (vs.2-4). And I have thirty-two years of listening experience in this department, too. How can this be?
Perhaps its because this text reminds us that evangelism is hard work. After all, relatively few folks run toward hard work, Christian or otherwise. Or it could be this passage is uncomfortable for us because it so clearly teaches that evangelism is something every Christian is to be about. It’s not just for “the professionals” among us, but a privilege and responsibility for all who believe.
And while those two factors undoubtedly are play, I’m convinced this Scripture tends to be avoided by most Christians simply because it so candidly tells us that most of what makes up Biblical evangelism has precious little to do with what we normally think of when we hear the word “evangelism.” In terms of sharing the gospel, we tend to think of five things: (1) methods, (2) materials, (3) money, (4) “the mechanics” and (5) those who are seen to be masters of it (i.e. – missionaries and ministers). Consequently, evangelism is seen by the church as a very unnatural thing and quite artificial thing.
But right here in this word to us straight from God through an apostle, the Holy Spirit reminds us that real-life evangelism, authentic sharing of faith in the God who gives good news, involves five very different things: (1) devoted, thankful prayer; (2) sensitivity to the fact that God must be at work for real openings to be available for the sharing of the good news; (3) living out of wise, godly lives before a watching world; (4) having our eyes wide open for opportunities God is creating before us as we go about our daily doings; and (5) common, yet knowledgeable conversation with people in which we deliberately choose to use words that are clear, full of grace, “salty” and responsive. With these tools in hand, sharing the good news of Jesus becomes the most natural thing in all the world for it is what those who are genuinely living for Jesus are about as they go about their day-to-day dealings with everyone.
Father God in Heaven, as surely as we have tasted your goodness and have our lives awash with the greatest news in all the world, flush out the excuses we so easily invent to put off sharing faith with others who need to believe. Move and shape us, lead and grow to come to understand that speaking with you, living for you and engaging others about you should become our our great, personal joy. May our lives sing out, as fact, that “Jesus is all the world to us,” that the world might believe.