THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
THE GREAT MYSTERY
September 9, 2013
Today’s reading: Colossians 1:24-2:3
What we are empowered to witness to is a great mystery. That
God became man. That Jesus won salvation for us through the
blood of the cross. That the might and dominion of Satan has
been destroyed. That we mere human beings are used by the
Spirit of God to do divine work. That we eventually will live
forever in eternal bliss in heaven.
us not take lightly our calling. Let us be awed and astonished.
Let us recognize the great privilege and be humbled. If we
truly realized what our calling is about, then the only reasonable
response would be to give our all to God and to His work.
what indeed is our mysterious calling about?
our work is the work of an apostle, one who like Paul is sent.
Sent to do what? “It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing
everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may
present everyone perfect in Christ.” (Col 1:28). We
are sent to proclaim Christ, so that all might meet Christ,
and start to live Christ. The ultimate goal in living Christ
is Christian perfection.
we fulfill our calling by being Christ (in holiness and perfection)
and in doing his work (evangelization and service). This is
the reality: “it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.”
(Col 1:27b). Since we are to step into Jesus’ sandals
and do his very work, then we need to become worthy instruments.
We need to live Christ. Christ needs to live in us. This is
how we become empowered to witness to Jesus. This is how people
can enter into the glory of God.
God has made Himself dependent on us, making us His stewards.
Like Paul, each one of us is called to be “a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to
bring to completion for you the word of God” (Col 1:25).
Jesus has entrusted his work to us. Jesus already did everything
to win salvation for humankind, and there is nothing that
we can add to that. But Jesus has made us stewards of the
gospel. He sends us forth to bring in the harvest. He is relying
on us to complete the process of salvation, as people hear
the good news, believe, call upon the name of the Lord, and
thus are saved.
Paul says, “in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking
in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which
is the church” (Col 1:24b). Jesus gives us the ultimate
privilege, to share his cross, the instrument of salvation.
According to the mysterious plan of God, His own Son suffered
and in so doing already accomplished everything intended to
be done by him. But the mystery is that the work of salvation
continues, now in and through human beings. And we who labor
will also need to suffer, to be afflicted, for such is the
way of God. Nothing is lacking in what Jesus suffered, but
more suffering is needed in order for people to experience
the salvation already won by Jesus, and this suffering is
to be borne by His human instruments. It in fact is a profound
continuation of Jesus’ suffering, as the Church, the
people of God who labor, are his body.
unlike in the world where happiness is thought to be achieved
through the elimination of pain and suffering, and through
the seeking of pleasure and personal fulfillment, in this
work we will suffer affliction, but precisely find fulfillment
in such affliction. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings
for your sake” (Col 1:24a). Oh what a great mystery!
Yesterday we talked of wisdom. Those who have wisdom are those
“to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery” (Col 1:27a). God is choosing to make
this mystery known to us, so that we might be greatly encouraged
to embrace this work and give our all. This is about the riches
of God. This is about the glory of God.
wisdom is connected with holiness. We are talking about “the
mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now
it has been manifested to his holy ones” (Col 1:26).
We need to strive for holiness. With holiness comes wisdom.
With wisdom comes understanding of the mysteries of God. With
such understanding comes the needed conviction for work that
will be difficult, for endurance and perseverance, for joy
in spite of, or because of, affliction and pain.
we understand and live the mystery of our calling, we engage
in a great struggle to serve those whom we do not even know
(Col 2:1), “that their hearts may be encouraged as they
are brought together in love, to have all the richness of
fully assured understanding” (Col 2:2a). This is what
Jesus did for the world. This is now the privilege given to
us to do likewise. We bring to people “the knowledge
of the mystery of God, Christ” (Col 2:2b). Christ is
the ultimate revelation of the mystery of God. It is Jesus
“in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge.” (Col 2:3).
We are empowered to witness to Jesus. “It is he whom
we proclaim .... in accord with the exercise of his power
working within (us).” (Col 1:28a,29b). May we now decide
to accept the challenge of this calling. May we go forth and
do a massive work of evangelization. May we now say with conviction
and great joy, “For this I labor and struggle”