I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
Spiritual Fullness in Christ
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Last Sunday morning in Adult Sunday School, we had a discussion of how we thought Paul’s ministry changed over time. When he began his ministry, many felt that Paul was a little arrogant considering that he was raised as a Jew with all his knowledge coming from his formal education in the Jewish faith, and the fact that he was persecuting Jews previous to his change of heart that day on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him. I felt that Paul quickly changed this view to a much humbler response to his “goal” or purpose. We also felt that Paul was “compelled” to hope for the same kind of commitment in new Christians. This passage spoke to me of that same yearning to be of service to God.
Have you ever done something really nice for someone other than your own family? It could be something as simple as opening a door for someone (other than an “old” lady- I have noticed since my hair turned gray, I get a lot of young people, men as well as women, that open doors for me!) or as complex as volunteering somewhere. There’s a feeling that accompanies these actions that gives you an inner warmth. Not because someone thanked you or even gave you a pat on the back, and not because you were trying to get attention (“what a great person I am!”), but purely that feeling deep in your soul that you knew in your heart, it just felt good to make someone “feel” better. Pastor Michelle spoke of it as “intentional service.”
I once attended a bible study where the minister teaching the class talked about a “money back guarantee”. That doing something for others came with the emotion that you were guaranteed to feel wonderful just for being part of that person’s life that lifted them above themselves. Intentional service is that. Living as Christ, living with Him, dwelling IN Him will reflect in our daily lives. One by one, touching lives in some way, is the gift we can give back to God who has given us everything. What are we doing for the world? What are we giving of ourselves? I think I can claim that “feeling” as a money-back guarantee in your heart.
Instill in us that compelling desire to want to share You with others. That we would deepen our faith and make a place for you that resides in our very being. Let Christ be seen in me today! Amen.
Written by Fran Baatz
Fran is happily married with two daughters, and four grandchildren and one great-grand daughter! She was an army brat growing up (which means she moved a bit) and her parents (Francis and Orpha Jimenez) were charter members of Sheridan Lutheran Church. She was also the first girl baptized in the church in 1953, so she has been at Sheridan a long time.