Time is a funny thing. When we are young it seems to drag on forever. Summers appear to last for an eternity, and the gap between birthdays seems much more than 365 days. We make chains and charts to count down the days before anticipated events.
When we grow older though, time is a fleeting aberration. We strive hard to slow it down, to savor the moments, to complete our to-do list before another day expires. Birthdays come and go faster than we can keep track of them. We complete one event only to turn around and find the next staring at us in the face.
In the busyness of this frantic passing of time, it can be tempting to just get things done, as we mimic horses with the blinders on looking only straight ahead. The problem with that is that as time passes, people come in and out of our lives. Some of these individuals will be with us for the long haul. Others are there just for that particular moment, that specific slice of history. Either way, we know that unless they are believers, our time with them won’t be long. That’s why Colossians 4:5 tells us to make the most of it. Specifically it says:
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.
There are two parts to this admonition.
First, we have to walk in wisdom towards those that don’t know Christ. This means that we have to be mindful and purposeful in our interactions. Our responses, the activities in which we participate, the manner in which we treat others can’t be casual or off-the-cuff. We should be wisely looking for opportunities to make a Kingdom difference in their lives – getting to know their particular situation and history in order to do this more effectively.
Coupled with that, we need to make the best use of the time. We need to not let an opportunity to minister to them pass us by. We don’t know how long our lives will intersect, and so we can’t put off until tomorrow what could be done today. When there seems to be a crack in proverbial door, we need to open it. When there is an opportunity to direct the conversation to things above, we need to take it. We can’t issue excuses for why now might not be the right time (although we can, and should, use wisdom, as indicated above, to manage the particular situation effectively); as far as we know this may be the only opportunity.
Colossians 4:5 is a seemingly simple verse; translated into English it is only 12 words. Yet doing this well, and consistently, can seem so difficult. However, we must remember we only have a limited time to put this command into practice. There won’t be any “outsiders” in Heaven.