March 31st, 2007
According to Paul’s worldview, outsiders are not nuisances to be threatened and suppressed. Outsiders are the very people that we are called to serve. It’s like saying that strangers are friends that we haven’t yet met. The church exists for the benefit of those who are not members. If Jesus really did think that other people were so important and so valuable that he chose to die for them, in spite of their sinfulness, in spite of their manners and idiosyncrasies, in spite of the ways in which we may find them frightening or unapproachable or unattractive, then we also need to have a love an concern for them that stretches over all the barriers that might try to repel us.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 4
4:1 Masters, deal with your servants fairly and equally, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
4:2 Keep on praying, staying alert and showing gratitude. 4:3 Pray for us also, that God may open a door for the message, allowing us to speak about the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4:4 Pray that I may explain it as clearly as I should. 4:5 Act wisely towards outsiders, using your time well. 4:6 Always let your words be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer everyone.
4:7 Tychicus, my beloved brother, a faithful servant and fellow slave in the Lord, will let you know how I am going. 4:8 I am sending him to you for this reason, so that he can find out how you are and encourage your hearts. 4:9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is going on here. 4:10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have received instructions about him, “If he comes to you, welcome him.” 4:11 Jesus who is called Justus also sends greetings. These are my only Jewish fellow workers for the Kingdom of God, men who have been a comfort to me.
4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you. He is always striving on your behalf in his prayers, praying that you will be mature and fully understand God’s will. 4:13 I can tell you that he is very concerned about you, and about the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. 4:15 Greet the believers in Laodicea, and greet Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 4:16 When this letter has been read to you, arrange for it to be read in the church of the Laodiceans. You should also read the letter from Laodicea. 4:17 Tell Archippus to make sure that he does the work which the Lord has given him to do.
4:18 I write this greeting with my own hand: Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Entry Filed under: Generosity