“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:1-2)
It is a hot day in Eugene, as I sit down to write this. In Eugene the heat stays until late afternoon or early evening. What I grew up with was the assumption, if you made it through to 4 pm and did not wilt in the heat, you were assured of surviving it. Here, the worst is yet to come!
It is good then to have refreshing things; cool water, a good fan, and cool clothes to change into. In the say way, when the “heat” of trying to live a Christian life in an environment that is subtly or not so subtly hostile to it, it is good to get encouraging “refreshment.” And that is exactly what Paul is doing for the “brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae.”
“In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit. (Verses 3 – 8)
It almost reminds me a report card – a loving report card that reflects the lessons of the Spirit and the learning of love of God. The challenges of living in and according to Christ have paid off.
“For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ( Verses 9-14)
One of the joys of my job is to give good reviews and annual assessments to my employee. I enjoy letting them know I have seen the positive difference they have made in their clients lives, supporting them and helping them with the tasks of caring for their household and themselves.
It is one of the drawbacks of writing a blog that appears on the internet that I mostly never get a chance to meet any of the beloved readers that I write too. Paul made every effort to see at least once or twice the churches that he wrote too. I feel at times like I am writing blindly to an unseen audience only able to guess in the broadest ways what their lives might be like. But it does not stop me from writing or lifting up all of my beloved readers in prayer. So when you read what Paul has written, please understand that while his situation and my situation are different, I echo his sentiments to you all! Shalom!