Making the most of the opportunity
Colossians 3:18-4 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 become bitter against them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not antagonize your children, so that they will not become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey those who are your human masters in everything, not with eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, 24 knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For the one who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
4 Masters, grant your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you also 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 proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way that I ought to proclaim it.
5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Your speech must 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 is Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your own. They will inform you about the whole situation here.
10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’ 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 own, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings, always striving earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand mature 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 Demas does also. 15 Greet the brothers and sisters 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 Tell Archippus, “See to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, so that you may fulfill it.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
In today’s text it says: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. This idea, this truth that whatever we do should be done as for the Lord, is the motivation behind what Paul said previously about relationships. It is because we love and serve the Lord that: Wives are to be be subject to their husbands; husbands are to love their wives and not become bitter against them. Children are to obey their parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. It is because we serve the Lord that fathers should not antagonize their children, so that they will not become discouraged. Slaves (employees) should obey those who are their human masters (bosses) in everything, not with eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord and Masters, (bosses) should grant your slaves (employees) justice and fairness, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Jesus taught us to pray saying: Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. In heaven there is not and will be no disobedience. The authority and order will be embraced by all. Romans 13:1-2 says: There is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. The way we relate to others is not meant to be conditional, based on how they treat us, but rather it is conditional to our loving, serving and being obedient to the Lord. If we resist the God established order and authority in our lives, we will bear the consequences of our disobedience.
The text 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. Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. We need to be devoted to prayer because things will come each day to test our faith and our obedience. People will hurt or offend us. We need to pray even before it arises, like Jesus prayed on the cross, Father forgive them they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34) We pray, as Jesus taught us to pray: forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says: “For if you forgive other people for their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive other people, then your Father will not forgive your offenses.” Again, our actions toward others are not conditional on their action or reaction to us. They are based on God’s action and our reaction to Him. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us.
This attitude and response toward others goes beyond those who are in our families or work places. In Matthew 5:44-45 Jesus says: “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” We don’t prove that we are sons and daughters of the Father to Him. He is the one who chose and adopted us. We Conduct ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. We prove to the world that we are sons and daughters of the Father. In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus says: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Our speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that we will know how we should respond to each person.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.