Messages and challenges usually come from experience and from God’s working in the heart of the writer; so it is with this challenge. I’ve been studying the book of Colossians and at the end of chapter one, Paul speaks to the church people there about the ministry to which God has called him and, I believe, it serves as a challenge to each of us today.
He begins this section of the book in verse 23 when he simply calls himself a “minister.” This word was used to describe someone who waited on others or who served others. The first lesson I must learn in this challenge for living is that I am a servant – I am here to do God’s bidding and to “esteem others” above myself.
The apostle goes on in verse 24 to speak of his suffering for Christ and for them. Paul’s willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake and for the church has always amazed me. No one enjoys suffering and yet Paul patiently endured, to please Christ and bring the Gospel to his world. Likely I will not suffer as he suffered but I must be willing to endure whatever comes my way for the Gospel’s sake.
The next challenge for living that Paul mentions is the challenge of spreading the Gospel. He is compelled and commissioned by God to take the mystery of the good news to the Gentiles (verses 25-27). This commission still stands. We are responsible, as he was, to make known the way of salvation. I wonder how we are doing in that area.
Finally, in verses 28-29, the apostle challenges us regarding “the perfecting of the saints” or the teaching and mentoring of others with the idea of helping them to mature. He says, “…that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour…” The challenge, then, is to be involved with others with the distinct aim of assisting them in their pursuit of Christlikeness.
Paul was an example in ministry that we would do well to follow as we offer our lives for service to our Lord.
Post by: Robert Booker, NBBI Vice President
This article appears in the February 2012 Open Bible Bulletin. Please click here for a pdf copy.