Key verse: Colossians 4:6
Big idea: Our witness is inseparable from the fullness of our life.
Several years ago, I took the CDL test to drive a church bus. I have forgotten a lot of the rules about air brakes and traffic codes but one question has been burned into my memory. "What is the best way to make sure you have both hands on the wheel in an emergency?" Answer: always have both hands on the wheel. It is the kind of observation which ought to be too simple to make, but is a very helpful reminder. You never know when disaster is going to strike, so the only way to be ready is to always be ready. If you let your guard down because you do not expect a crisis, then you will never be prepared when it comes.
The spiritual parallel is obvious. We face certain crises in life, but the kind of person who will be prepared for the great test is the one who has been faithful in the small things all along. Jesus said that the one who is faithful in little is also faithful in much and our ordinary experience bears that out. Colossians 4:6 applies this to something even more ordinary than driving: speech. Do you want to be the kind of person who is abe to speak to those who need Jesus in a way that is winsome? Do you want to not lose your temper at the critical moment, when someone's very soul is at stake? Paul has a strategy: "let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt." If you always speak graciously, with the preserving influence that comes from being the salt of the earth, then you will know how "to answer every man."
Older kids: Have you ever tried to cram for a test? What works better, a habit of hard work, or trying to push through at the final moment?
Younger kids: How are your manners? Do you think about saying 'please' and 'thank you' or is it a good habit? How can doing things all the time help us to do them when it really matters?
Very few people can really be said to have speech that is always with grace and seasoned with salt. Most of our conversation can better be described as "salty" in the modern slang of irritable and sassy, rather than the biblical sense of our speech being set apart as an offering to God. But if we are Christians, everything we say should have the savor of the Lord about it. We cannot say that we will be negative and foul mouthed about our coworkers, our politics or other drivers and yet be gracious in our speech about the gospel. If we are serious about our witness, our mouth must belong to the Lord 24/7.
Discussion idea: What percentage of the things you say are gracious? Does your family agree with your estimate?
Prayer focus: Pray that the gospel would be so ever-present in our minds that we would see every word we speak as a means to the end of God's glory.