Now our passage from Colossians is a short one, but I believe has a lot to say to us espically in our walk - and therefore our working for - Jesus.
Before we look at the main body of the text let’s look at verse 17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
So what the Apostle Paul is saying is Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Jesus)” . All of life, both words and deeds, are done in Christ, because he is our life. If we call ourselves Christians then we have the Holy Spirit within us to council and guide us Jesus said in John 16;13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and again Jesus said in John 4:17about the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and He will be in you.
And in John 14:26 Jesus said ‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. So we need to be aware that in all things God is with us and within us that is why Jesus was able to give this warring in Matthew 7:21-23. ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Our God sees our souls and our hearts, and God knows if we are generous to our church, to our neighbour God knows if we love Him with all our heart soul and body and He also know if we love our neighbour in the same way. We can’t fool God He see what we gave to Him and what we keep for ourselves, do all things to bring glory to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Trust in His Spirit he will guide us into all the truth. So we can work for Jesus be glorifying Him and praising Him all the time. And giving thanks through Jesus to God.
Now the next seven verses have caused a lot of disquiet in some parts of the church especially over the last 100 years or so, my take on these and similar passages is this.
First they were written contextually for a certain people in a certain place at a certain time. Second. They were written to new Christians to show them and us how Christians are to live in the world and before God. Thirdly as a study of Christ, this might be part of the best section on Christology there is in the Bible. Paul shows the divinity of Christ, the sufficiency of Christ, and the supremacy of Christ and therefore it has a relevance to us today.
So let’s just remind ourselves of the first four theses verses: Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
What are these saying to the Christian today, I believe they are saying no matter what love your spouse forgive your spouse be kind to each other even if at times they drive you nuts and Children be good at all times and admit when you are wrong and say sorry from the heart, do what your parents want because this pleases God and finally parents do not be harsh on your children love them and forgive them.
So Paul is saying love one another as this pleases God. It should be timeless and in Gods Kingdom it is.
The next four verses you may think have nothing to do with our generation or our country I will come back to this. But in the meantime lets remind ourselves of them: Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism. Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
But what if you change the word slaves for worker or employee and master for Boss or employer? (and the same would apply if you do voluntary work). With that in mind lets read it again: [Employee], obey your earthly employer / boss / manager in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism. Employer / manager, provide your [Employee], with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
Martin Luther King Jr. said “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michael Angelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
As we can see at home in the family or whatever our working life is like we are working for Christ and we are the light in the world, someone once said you may be the only Bible some people read. Why do people call some Christians hypocrite because they say one thing and do another.
So we need to ask ourselves are we tithing as it is taught in the Bible, we also need to ask ourselves are we doing what Jesus would want me to do or are we doing stuff just on the surface.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:31- 46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Mother Teresa said “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
And I would add our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will lead us to those works. Which group will we be in those that Jesus says I do not know you, or will I be welcomed with a hug and a kiss.
Now I said earlier that the four verses we just looked at that we may think have nothing to do with our generation.
We know that slavery was abolished in the 1800’s, but it is about now in our time.
I have been to India and seen modern day slavery in action, by entrapment and by parents giving children away for money. A whole group of people living in poverty, with no education were promised new homes and a job with good wages and free transport to their new homes, if they up-rooted and went to Hyderabad on the other side of India 100’s of miles away, what they got was dis-used pipes for homes, barley substance wages, when the complained they were told don’t like go else were leave, it meant they would have to walk home 100’s of miles with no food and no money, they stayed what choice did they have, and we have meet a child temple prostitute, sold by her mother at the age of 11 or 12.
Slavery is everywhere. There are tens of millions of people trapped in various forms of slavery throughout the world today. Researchers estimate that 21 million are enslaved worldwide, generating $150 billion each year in illicit profits for traffickers.
- Labour Slavery. About 78 percent toil in forced labour slavery in industries where manual labour is needed—such as farming, ranching, logging, mining, fishing, and brick making—and in service industries working as dish washers, janitors, gardeners, and maids.
- Sex Slavery. About 22 percent are trapped in forced prostitution sex slavery.
- Child Slavery. About 26 percent of today’s slaves are children.
Slavery today is a hidden crime, making it harder for the public to see and for those in slavery to call out for help. Slavery statistics come from the U.N. International Labour Organization.
Slavery has existed for thousands of years, but economic and social forces have enabled its alarming resurgence in the past few decades by increasing people’s vulnerability.
New slavery has two chief characteristics—it’s cheap and it’s disposable. Slaves today are cheaper than ever. In 1850, an average slave in the American South cost the equivalent of $40,000 in today’s money. Today a slave costs about $90 on average worldwide. (Source: Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy).
And why should we get involved because Jesus loves us and because the Church is His Bride His love and because of His Grace we are saved to live with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So my final question to us all is: how are we working for Christ, in our finances, our time and in our prayers, in our church our parish and our world? Let’s pray: Lord through your Holy Spirit show us where we can help and how we can be more generous in our giving of our money of our time, to your church and to those at home and abroad that need our help. Lord through your Holy Spirit help us to work for Christ. In Jesus name we pray, amen.