Colossians 4: 5, 6 “The Message”
Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
- Use your heads. As we go about our chaplaincies, we should be thoughtful and alert both to God and the people we meet. It begins by noticing people.What are their circumstances? What are they saying to us, and why?
- As you live and work among outsiders. … Paul knew that the normal routines of life, in our communities and especially in the workplace, mattered. Ordinary, everyday life is spiritual, not just church activities or our devotional life. That’s why we’re chaplains.
- Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Every chaplaincy conversation, however brief, and whatever it is about, can be significant, both for us and the people we meet. We venture out God’s name, and He is there as we speak to people.
- Be gracious in your speech.Gracious speech is “others-oriented” and seeks their good. We should always be asking ourselves, “How will what I say affect my hearer?”
- The goal is to bring out the best in others. Much of chaplaincy is about encouraging, affirming and appreciating people. I spoke to someone last week in a supermarket who began, “People think that because you just stack shelves for a living…” I hope our brief conversation was helpful.
- In a conversation. Listening to other people shows respect and shares concern. It is a way of connecting and, in those connections, the grace of God can flow.
- [Do] not put them down, [do] not cut them out. Christians can sometimes be heard to be very critical. As a result, when there is hostility to the church, it generally isn’t directed towards Jesus, but towards His followers. We may not always agree with what people do, but as chaplains we are there to accept them as people Jesus loves. When Jesus met the ordinary people of his day, He never put them down, but encouraged and showed how they could be included in what God was doing.
Based on piece in “Christianity Beyond Belief: Following Jesus for the Sake of Others” (114-17) by Todd Hunter (Harper Collins, San Francisco 2002) and quoted in “Right Here, Right Now” (96-97) by Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2011