July 11, 2013
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6
Today's Daily Devotion, with only the most minor of modifications, was written by Mick Onnen, the previous president of Lutheran Hour Ministries. We thank him for his insightful devotion and allowing us to share it with you.
Don't you hate it when this happens: you grab that bottle of milk from the refrigerator, fill up your bowl with cold cereal, pour the milk on it, and prepare to enjoy your Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, or granola, and then ... then, it happens: the milk has a strange aroma: a semi-sweet, starting-to-separate aroma.
You check the carton's expiration date and, sure enough, that date says, "Best if used by ..." yesterday.
Most food items we buy these days have an expiration date found on the packaging. What that means is they are freshest, have best flavor, and are not likely to taste old or stale if used by that stamped-on date. For some foods, the expiration date doesn't seem to be too critical but, for others, the date is, well, the expiration date.
I looked in the mirror today, and my reflection doesn't show an expiration date anywhere. That is a good thing. One could live in real fear if we saw an expiration date stamped somewhere on our forehead.
But, the reality is: all of us have one, an expiration date. And although that date may remind us of the day we will meet our Maker, there is another way our expiration date might be meaningful.
That perspective deals with the time God gives us on this earth to make a difference; it is the time we have to be about the Father's work. St. Paul urges, "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
We all have many opportunities every day to serve God's people, and to be a light in the world to unbelievers. I wonder would you approach your day differently if you knew your expiration date was fast approaching?
Well, the truth of the matter is our expiration date is approaching. Our challenge as Christians could perhaps be best summed up by paraphrasing the words on the milk carton. Our date should read, "Best if used as soon as possible!"
We know the Gospel message shouldn't be reserved for another day.
That's why I suggest we forget worrying about our expiration date and use today in active service to those around us and the Lord Jesus. In today the Lord has given us another day to be His witnesses.
This is why I say, today, just do it.
God grant this day be special as you share the Savior's story of salvation with others.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may we follow the words of Scripture, which encourage us to work while it is day before the night comes when no man can work (see John 9:4). Today I ask, dear Lord, that You will bless that work. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries