Being Famous for Little Things
”Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we 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. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel’…” Colossians 1:1–5 ESV Read More
Getting a Church Back on Track
Paul starts his letters in different ways. It’s easy to read over this and think it’s the same as all of the other introductions. In this letter, Paul is writing to people that are slowly being swayed and turned away from the gospel by some other strange teachings. Instead of correcting them right out of the gate, he honors them by helping them remember their reputation.
Colossae was in modern-day Turkey and surrounded by other familiar cities like Ephesus and Laodicea. Paul knew people from those cities and had visited them, so that is probably how he heard about their faith. It’s exciting to see, even though they were on the edge of drifting off into angel-worship and mediocrity, how Paul prayed for them.
Giving Thanks for Their Reputation
Paul says he is always giving thanks for them when he prays, because
He heard of their faith in Jesus
They love all of the saints
Their faith and love for the church is known beyond the borders of their city. This didn’t happen because of advertising (that we know of), but out of their activity in the city. The more they acted on their faith, the more people from Ephesus and Laodicea would hear about the Colossians. They weren’t doing things so that they’d be popular, they were popular because of the things they were doing.
So here is Paul, about to try to direct the church back to faith in Christ and away from angel-worship and social-class separation in the church by directing them to the real point. If you strive for being well-known, you might achieve it. If you strive for fame and fortune you might even get that too. But if you strive, like you did in the beginning oh little church of Colossae, to have great faith in Jesus and to love the people in His Church, you’ll get everything else along with it.
The Simplest Plan in the World
As far as complex activities and plans, you can’t get much simpler than what Jesus said was the greatest commandment in the Law and the prophets. ”Love the Lord with all of your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus knew that was the core of anything that would ever be great. Paul knew it too, and he knew the hope for the Colossian church rested on them acting on those two things.
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