Read Colossians 4:5-6
5 Live wisely among those who are not believers,and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (NLT)
The old saying captures the tension well: we are to be ‘in’ the world but not ‘of’ the world. We can become so involved in our culture that we lose our distinctiveness. In our desire to be relevant we can easily become irrelevant.
Then again,we can become so detached from our culture that we lose any capacity to speak into it. We scarcely understand what is happening ‘out there’ as we are absorbed in our Christian organisations,Christian schools,Christian churches and Christian friendship networks. In such cases our witness tends to be scratching where the world is not itching.
Our text reminds us that we are to make the most of our opportunities to bring Jesus into the lives of others. We can’t do that if we are preoccupied with hanging out with Christians. We end up having to resort to occasional letters to the editor or public statements to get our point across. Barricading ourselves behind our Christian subculture might mean we become too defensive and too fearful.
It would be a nice change if we were to be seen as those who are gracious and attractive. It is not enough to believe we have these qualities: we need to demonstrate them to those who need to see them most.