Making the most of the opportunity.
Colossians 3:18-from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
4 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.
5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
7 As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. 8 For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.
10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); 11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. 16 When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. 17 Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
Today’s text begins saying: Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. The breakdown of the family structure is one of the most signifcant downfalls in our culture and society. It is not in alignment with current thinking on the part of many people that wives should be subject to their husbands. The roles of both husbands and fathers have been diminished and even degraded in our culture. In particular the ideas of male headship and of masculinity in general are considered as something negative and outdated. What is normal and natural, the idea that families should consist of both a mother and a father is considered to be unfair, unnecessary and intolerant in today’s culture. In addition, children are no longer expected to be obedient to their parents. Much of the responsibility for the breakdown certainly does fall to men. They have not truly loved as they should. Often they are not even present for their children. The solution though is not to change or do away with what is right because we have failed to be right. The solution is for the family to return to what God intended. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. A man cannot rightly love his family if he has not first received the love of God. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” We cannot love others if we do not first love God. If we have both received the love of God and love Him in return, then we can and should love others. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Paul describes love saying: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. The thing is, this description of what love is and what love does is not a description of natural love at all. When describing love, Paul is speaking about spiritual gifts. True love is a gift from God. The reason for the breakdown of families in our culture is that we have taken God out of nearly every aspect of our lives. By removing God, we have removed His love. By removing His love, we have lost our ability and capacity to truly love. In Genesis one, in the account of creation, God spoke to the chaos of the world and created order. When God’s voice is removed from the world and from our culture, the result is chaos.
The same principle that dictates success or failure in personal relationships, is also true in business or work relationships. The text says: Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. How much more efficient and productive would businesses be if employees sincerely worked to do their very best. How much greater would employee satisfaction be if employers were truly fair and just? What if they actually treated their employees as they themselves would want to be treated? The thing is, for whoever is a believer and a follower of Christ, whether employee or employer, as a follower of Christ they are responsible for their own actions and behavior, regardless of what the other party does. God loved us when we did not deserve to be loved. We too should love others not because they deserve it, but because we are loved by God.
Paul says: Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving… Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. We are not to take advantage of other people, but rather to make the most of every opportunity. The opportunity we are to make the most of is the opportunity to be examples of God’s love and His light to others; to be those who restore order to the chaos of the world. Psalm 33:12 says: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. Perhaps if we will devote ourselves to prayer and maintain an attitude of thanksgiving; if having received the love of God, we will let His love rule all that we say and do; we will be a nation that is blessed.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, Because You first loved me, may Your love rule all that I do. Amen.