Colossians 4:5-6 - 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.
Don't you hate it when you grab a bottle of milk from the refrigerator, fill your bowl up with cereal, pour the milk on it, and 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, the date says, "Best if used by ..." yesterday.
Most food items we buy have an expiration date found on the packaging. What that means is they are freshest, have the 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 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 he saw an expiration date stamped somewhere on his forehead.
But, the reality is, all of us have one—an expiration date, that is. And although that date may remind us of the day we will meet our Maker, there is another way this date is meaningful.
It concerns 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. As the apostle Paul urges us above: we are to be sensible and mindful of others, speaking genuinely and showing love and empathy to all. Our words should be courteous and grace-filled; they should be helpful to others.
We all have many chances each day to serve God's people, as we bless others through the things we say and do. I wonder if you would think about 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 might best be summed up by paraphrasing the words on the milk carton: "Best if used as soon as possible!"
We all know our witness to the Gospel message shouldn't be reserved for some day in the future. That's why I suggest we forget worrying about our expiration date. Instead, let us live today, serving those who need to hear about the always-fresh Good News of God's love.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant this day to be special as we share the Savior's story of salvation with others. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Mick Onnen, board member of The Lutheran Laymen's League.
1. How has your thinking about your own mortality changed in the last 10 to 20 years?
2. How do you think the apostle Paul made the best use of his time?
3. How do we get to the point where we know how to answer others, especially on spiritual matters?
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