Relationships as Acts of Service

(Today’s post by Chris Queen)

Colossians 3:18-4:18

love-one-another-1-644x320Colossians, like many of Paul’s letters, winds down with a scatter-shot of practical advice, requests for prayers, and greetings. That’s what we find here at the tail end of chapter 3 and in to chapter 4.

Paul starts out giving some advice on how to make relationships function smoothly, the way they should. Then he talks a bit about the importance of prayer, asking for it himself, then he speaks specifically to the people of the congregation in Colosse. If these different topics don’t sound like they belong together, two verses serve as a thread that runs through all of it.

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not become harsh toward them.

20 Children, obey your parents in every respect, for this is pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they will not become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your human masters in every respect—not just within your master’s sight as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it from the soul, as for the Lord and not for people.24 For you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. It is to the Lord Messiah you are giving service. (emphasis mine)

We tend to apply these last two verses to our work lives, looking at them as an encouragement to treat our vocation as a calling from God. But I believe these verses apply to the give and take of the relationships mentioned above them.

As believers we should act as Jesus’ emissaries in every relationship, even the ones most familiar to us. In the verses that follow, we see this concept at work too. Paul is asking for prayer, encouraging the Colossians to act with wisdom, encouraging others, and sharing love with the congregation.

In your interactions with the people around them – whether you love them or not, whether they’re a part of your mission field or fellow believers – do you serve them the same way you serve the Lord? Do you treat others with the utmost respect? Do you look for ways to meet their needs? Do you show them you care?

23 Whatever you do, work at it from the soul, as for the Lord and not for people.24 For you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. It is to the Lord Messiah you are giving service.

Never, ever lose sight of your service to God and to others in the day-to-day of your relationships.

 

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