THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM
Today’s reading: Colossians 1:24-2:3
Being destined for greatness, God’s
people are called to holiness, servant leadership and God’s
divine mission. The dimension of greatness is threefold. One,
God’s mysteries are “manifested to his holy ones”
(v.1:26b). Two, just like Paul, we are to be “a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship” (v.1:25a).
Three, our mission is to “proclaim (Christ), admonishing
everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom” (v.28a).
These are awesome. We are called to be holy as God is holy;
we are entrusted as ministers and stewards with God’s
divine work; we are to complete the proclamation of the gospel
of salvation in Jesus.
there is more. Paul is the apostle par excellence,
and in him we can look to the greatness of the work that awaits
us all, as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus in imitation
of Paul. We will see that God’s call is awesomely amazing.
Paul makes a remarkable statement: “in my flesh I am
filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on
behalf of his body, which is the church” (v.1:24b).
Is there something lacking in Christ’s sacrificial total
giving of self? Of course not. There is nothing we can add
to what Jesus has done to win salvation for all. But what
we are called to do is to proclaim that salvation, so that
people might accept it and be brought to faith in Jesus. God
has entrusted us to continue his work in and for the Church.
If we do not do so, Jesus’ sacrifice would be for naught.
In effect, God has made Himself dependent upon His people
to accomplish His will and purpose. Doing God’s own
work is greatness.
Paul is a minister through whom God’s people receive
“the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.”
(v.1:26a). God is mystery, for who has known the mind of God,
who is eternal? But God makes known to His people the mysteries
of the Kingdom. In particular, that mystery “is Christ
in you, the hope for glory.” (v.1:27b). But there is
much more to know about Christ and the workings of the Kingdom.
Thus God Himself imparts His wisdom and knowledge to His people.
Being instruments of God’s revelation of His mysteries
Paul says his stewardship is “to bring to completion
for you the word of God” (v.1:25b). God has revealed
Himself, first through His people Israel and second through
His own Son Jesus. Such revelation is contained in His own
written word, the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the
New Testament. God intends His people to understand the length
and breadth and height and depth of His revelation, the fullness
of His written word and His living Word. Being called to help
complete God’s word is greatness.
the goal in proclaiming Christ is “that we may present
everyone perfect in Christ.” (v.1:28b). We are called
to holiness, to be holy as God is holy. That means Christian
perfection, to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.
This is the destiny of God’s people. Could anything
be greater than that?
of these are a great mystery. Indeed Paul keeps saying so.
He says “God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles” (v.1:27a). He says
God’s people are “to have all the richness of
fully assured understanding, for the knowledge of the mystery
of God, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom
and knowledge.” (v.2:2b-3). Such wonders are manifested
only to those whom God has destined for greatness.
The riches, the glory, the treasuresall given to those
destined for greatness.
need to know these things, and to tell God’s people
these things, so “that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love” (v.2:2a). And
who will do this? We are among those called. Just like Paul,
we are to give our all, even for those whom we do not know
and have not seen. “For I want you to know how great
a struggle I am having for you and for those in Laodicea and
all who have not seen me face to face” (v.2:1). For
such greatness, we must be willing to engage in a great struggle.
Just like Paul. “For this I labor and struggle, in accord
with the exercise of his power working within me.” (v.1:29).
a wondrous task! It will not be easy, but it will be great.
There will be suffering and pain, but it will be salvific.
And so we have the posture of Paul: “Now I rejoice in
my sufferings for your sake” (v.1:24a). A great task,
done with great struggle, but with the great power provided
by God, filled with great joy.
This is what it means to be destined for greatness.