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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Salt Shaker



I have a habit when I sit down to study the Word in the morning to quickly select and write down a verse that I’ve been thinking about or one that just captures my attention when I pull up my Bible study program.  I guess it kind of acts like a primer for the day’s study… like an appetizer before the main meal is served!  For the last few days I have been looking at and notating Colossians 4:6 from various translations.  Today I wrote it out in a personalized conglomeration of the different translations and notes I’ve taken.  It came out as: “Everything I say and do is kind, with grace, seasoned as it were with salt and is well thought out so that I always know how to answer everyone.”

Then it just so happened that my commentary of Colossians was talking about the ministries of speech and used this verse as it’s springboard into the subject… cool wouldn’t you say!  I could probably sum up what I looked at today by declaring:“with grace in our hearts and on our lips we will be faithful witnesses and not judges or prosecuting attorneys.”*

That statement brought back a flood of memories concerning some of my wife’s and my experiences over the last few years!  But it also brought a smile to my face as I recalled my personal pleasure in watching my wife “work a room” during the special events we put on at the various churches we served in over the years.  The first part of the summary above would be a vivid picture of what I saw in her.  She had a knack to quietly walk around the room with a sweet, non-threatening smile and personal demeanor that could tear down even the tallest walls that people tried to erect around themselves!

Then I had to laugh aloud (and startle our new dog lying at my feet at my desk in our study) as I recalled her interactions with the group of youth we met with for a while in a park in a pretty rough neighborhood in our old hometown in the early nineties.  They would be talking in their teen/gang lingo and she would have them in stitches as she was completely naive to the meaning of many of their comments… but yet she commanded their complete respect as they would patiently translate their meanings to her and listen intently as she spoke and ministered the Word with love, in words seasoned with grace.

She has always had a way with wayward kids and youth! (adults too… come to think about it!)  Her patience seemed like it had no ending, and there were many times during ministry events that I knew to just keep my mouth shut and let her have her way!  Another thought that caught my attention this morning which goes hand in hand with my wife’s example, was that “There is no place in a Christian conversation for a know-it-all attitude.”*

This is something in others that can be very annoying to me!  What is worse is when I have found myself being drawn into the trap of retorting to such an individual by attempting to do the same thing and talk about how smart I was and/or how successful I have been.  But you know… in reference to my wife’s humble demeanor, I can’t ever recall a time that she allowed herself to fall into that trap… even at family gatherings!  I believe that is called “GRACE.”

I like the idea of our speech being “seasoned with salt.” (Colossians 4:6 KJV)  Salt in Bible times was not only used for seasoning but also as a preservative.  And when you look in the Old Testament, you’ll find times where it was added to the sacrifice.  So not only should our words be pleasant to the palette, but they should preserve the atmosphere of love and peace… which means that at times, we need to sacrifice our own desires and speak words that will bless and not curse the hearers.  Like I’ve learned, there are times that we just need to do what is right and not say or do something just because we feel like it!  Kind of like telling someone to take what you’re about to say ‘with a grain of salt!’  To me that is exercising a lack of responsibility, self-control and zero spiritual discernment!  Colossians 4:6 plainly tells us that WE are the ones who are to season OUR words with salt and aim to cultivate a grace-filled spirit of love!

So, what do you think?  Are you heavy or moderate with the salt shaker when it comes to the way you speak to others?  A little bit of salt can enhance the flavor of a meal, while too much will ruin it!  What amount do you shake onto your words?  Have a great day today, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “How much GRACE am I expecting to shake onto my words today?" 
 
*Be Complete, A Commentary of Colossians, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, Chapter 11

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