Who cares for the church?

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…the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.  Colossians 1:23-29
I have a friend who says, “Disciple-making is largely unappreciated at the time.” The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to be unappreciated. Yet, Paul says he has joy in his assignment from Jesus. Joy! But, its not been easy. Following Jesus has brought him into:

Sufferings.

Stewardship.

Struggle.

Sufferings. There are seasons in which Paul suffered physically and psychologically for the advancement of Jesus’ church.

Stewardship. Paul had a persistent sense of responsibility to proclaim the word of God to people, making Jesus known through the Gospel.

Struggle. Paul tapped into all the resources of mind, body, and soul that the Lord made available to him so that people would grow up as Jesus’ disciples.

There is nothing like the Gospel ministry to which we have been called. It has its highs and its lows. It’s rich! It’s glorious! It’s messy! No one else but the church is promised the incredible hope of glory: Christ in you!  Disciple-making is not an easy journey, but it has its joys! There is nothing like being in the company of Jesus, the King of Creation, when He touches the life of a brother or sister.

These joys can be ours when we lean into Jesus with His people and willingly accept some measure of sufferings, stewardship, and struggle for the sake of Jesus and His church. Gospel ministry is not a matter of full-time or part-time vocation. Instead its a relationship and a labour of love. Will you venture into relationship with at least one other person to flame the hope of our glory—Christ in us?

 

 

 

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