I’m not the only one who tends to skim over the ends of Paul’s letters, right? Greetings and reports on individuals I don’t know, ya ya … To no one’s surprise there’s some good stuff in there if I force myself to take it slowly. (Three cheers for journaling scripture.)
Some thoughts on the (formerly-) boring end passage of Colossians.
I motion we start calling ourselves something other than, “Christians.”
Paul constantly refers to himself as, “a bondservant of Christ,” and at the end of his letter to the Colossians he refers to Epaphras the same way. He seemed to like that term, and it’s no wonder why. I’m sure it make the role of a believer very clear.
More than a title, calling yourself a “slave” over and over again, has to work an effect on your psyche. More than just a descriptor used to identify people who share the faith, it must have been a constant reminder of what we do, how we live, etc.
The word “Christian” probably did the same thing at one time, but I think it’s lost its power to familiarity. If we can stand around the water cooler and gossip, refuse to tithe, never love or serve our neighbors, never go out of our way to share our faith, and still call ourselves, “little Christs,” or, “Christ-like” with a straight face … something isn’t connecting. I think it’s time to make a change.
I’m open to ideas. Let’s put it to a vote. Or let each local community decide for themselves what they need to be reminded of. During a recent ISIS attack, the terrorists mocked our people by calling them, “the people of the cross.” I kind of like that – as long as we can remember what a cross is all about. They also marked doors with an “N” for “Nazarene.” That’s a little shorter, although maybe not so descriptive.
Like I said, I’m open to ideas. But I like the idea of referring to ourselves with some language that reminds us of our purpose and calling, rather than a fraternity-esque title. Discussion is now open in the comments …
Pray for your pastors.
Paul and Epaphras had high hopes and expectations for their churches.
Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. (Col 4:12)
The NKJV says, “perfect and complete.”
Epaphras didn’t just preach on Sunday and hold down weekly office hours. That man was invested, and he did not compromise his vision for his people. He didn’t leave “work” at the office when he went home, and he wasn’t “realistic” about how many of his church would really pursue Christ. He “always” “labored” “earnestly” in prayer for his people, that they would be perfect and complete in all the will of God.
But I’ve known a few pastors in my limited Church experience, and I’ve been in more than a few staff meetings. This is not a vision or a passion that pastors can whip up, and if we’re honest – most of us don’t make it real easy for our pastors to have this kind of hope or vision for us.
Pray for your pastors, that the Lord would give them grace to forgive, faith to believe, comfort for their wounds, so that they can pray these kinds of prayers for you.