August 12, 2019

Colossians 1:24, 25a Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant….

Paul will sometimes begin a letter stating that he is a servant of Christ Jesus (See Romans 1:1 and Philippians 1:1). Above he uses a different word to express the same idea, being a servant, but here he is the servant of the church. Being a servant is one of the hallmarks of Jesus’ teaching and the example of his life. In Philippians 2:7 Paul writes that Jesus “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” In the Christian worldview being a servant is a good thing. But who (or is it whom) are you going to serve? The old joke is about the person who declares “I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand.” Paul here says that he is the servant of the church. Of course, he doesn’t mean a building or even an organization. He means people, like the ones he is writing to, who are getting it wrong is certain ways and who have issues they need to confront and character flaws upon which need to improve. Service, and its counterpart love, are not just ideals to be commended. They are difficult and painful because they deal with real human beings with real faults and failures. This is where service is found, working for the good who cannot or will not reciprocate but whom God loves none the less. We serve because God loves. Even when it hurts (read again what Paul says above about suffering). This week, whom are you called to serve?

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