What is this “labor” God has for us to do here on earth? It is lifting Christ high among our friends and family and in our community – exalting His Holy Name and praising Him for His Amazing Love. It is working with people to show them God’s love for them and His plan for their lives. It is teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and living it out in our daily lives. It is caring about others so much that giving of ourselves to meet their needs is a joy. The Apostle Paul explained this sacrificial lifestyle of labor beautifully to the Christians in Colossae:
“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Colossians 1:24-29
What did Paul call his work for the people of God? (my sufferings for you) Why would Paul describe his work in the Gospel as “sufferings” for people? How do we suffer for the sake of getting the Gospel of Christ to people?
What did Paul call God’s people? (Christ’s Body, the Church) What does it mean to you to belong to the Body of Christ? What does it mean to you to belong to a local assembly of God’s people who are laboring for Him?
How did Paul describe himself in his labor for God’s people? (minister – servant) What does it mean to “serve” God? How are you serving God?
What did God make known to Christians? (the riches of the glory of His mystery) Why would God the Gospel as riches? What is the mystery God has given us?
What is the hope of glory? (Christ in us) Why is Christ our hope of glory? What does that mean to you?
Who do we preach? (Christ) What does it mean to “preach” Christ? Why do we preach Christ?
How do we preach Christ? (warning every man, teaching every man in all wisdom) Why do we warn people? How do we warn every person? How do we teach people “in all wisdom”? What’s the difference between warning and teaching people?
Why do we preach Christ? (that we may present every man perfect – complete – in Christ Jesus)
How did Paul labor? (striving according to God’s working which worked in him mightily)
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” 1 Corinthians 15:9-11
What did Paul credit for his ability to preach the Gospel? (God’s Grace) How does God’s Grace work in your life? How does God’s Grace work in you to labor for Him?
What was the result of Paul’s labor? (salvation of those who heard and believed) What are the results of your labor?
Laboring for Christ is not just for pastors, evangelists and missionaries. It’s for every believer. Read Romans 16:1-16 and think about what each person Paul mentioned may have done to serve Christ in their life and community.
Imagine that Christians who live far in the future find a document written by your pastor. On that document are the names of people who labored with him at your church.
What would people read about your labor for the Gospel of Christ? What would you like people to read about your labor for Christ? What can you do in the coming weeks and months to make that happen?
We are saved to exalt God, praise His Name, obey Him, and work for Him during the years He gives us on Planet Earth. Our prayers are with you as you serve the Lord of lords and King of kings!
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”