Reto Mayer

Secretary-Treasurer

French-Italian Swiss Conference

Euro-Africa Division

Summary: In regard to stewardship, the author reflects on the Book of Colossians for us to consider Paul’s admonition that in everything we do or say, do “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” How can we respond to that challenge today?

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. --Colossians 3:17 NKJV

The question

Reflecting on this verse as a twenty-first century Christian, I cannot help but ask, do we earn our money “in the name of the Lord Jesus?” Do we build our home “in the name of the Lord Jesus?” Do we live our life “in the name of the Lord Jesus?” What about our family, our relationships, our church? Do we manage our time “in the name of the Lord Jesus?” Do we handle our health “in the name of the Lord Jesus?”

I think we sometimes fail here. We often try to be “good people,” doing and saying things that give a good impression of ourselves. Yet, when no one is looking at us, we are another kind of person, a person who does not really care about managing his or her time, money, or health.

We ask, are not Paul’s words to the Colossian believers too ideal, too difficult to live up to in a normal Christian life? How do we understand the apostle’s words as God’s stewards today? Paul’s admonition to do everything we do or say “in the name of the Lord Jesus” is a challenge for us today! How can we respond to that challenge?

The experience of the Colossians and ours

The Colossian believers had warmly responded to the Spirit’s invitation to “bring forth fruit” (Colossians 1:6) in their life, and Paul observed their “good order and the steadfastness of their faith” (Colossians 2:5). Paul therefore prays “that they may walk worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10).

The English word “worthy” is equivalent to the French word digne. When we look at the definition of this word in French, we find this explanation: “He who agrees, who is in conformity with someone”. In other words, the Colossian believers walked in conformity of the Lord! Paul had guided them to walk with the Lord by explaining first who the Lord was and what He had done for them. Notice the following:

“… giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).

“And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind… He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:21-22).

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:11-14).

Christ has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance!

Christ has given us redemption through his blood and forgiveness of sins!

Christ has reconciled us with Him so that we can stand before Him without reproach!

Christ has circumcised us to be alive after having forgiven all our trespasses by nailing them to the cross!

These verses are clear! Everything is done! We are God’s children, we have been saved, our sins forgiven, and we are standing in the sight of the Lord as without sin!

That’s what Christ has done for us.

Here lies, for me, the most important issue about stewardship. What place does God/Jesus Christ have in my life?

If He is not first and foremost for me, then perhaps His atoning death (redemption) is not that important for me.

But Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins, to make me partaker of the inheritance of the saints, and to have life! When I realize the means and see the unconditional love of Jesus for me, how can I say that some of the things I do or say are not that harmful for me? Should not my life be a response to His love?

The Bible states, “as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another… But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:12-14).

What matters most

Peter was just seven years old when he participated in a children’s summer camp for the first time. The first days were not easy as he missed his parents and his home. It didn’t help when he saw his friends receiving presents from their parents. He became sad and wanted to leave. However, one day he received a large box. Happy beyond words, he tore the box open to find biscuits, chocolates, and little toys. Peter did not seem to care much about them, instead he grabbed the envelope on top. Too young to read, he asked me if I could read the letter for him.

Meanwhile, I saw the other children circling around the box definitely looking interested. I cautioned Peter to look after his box. Yet, he wouldn’t move, he just looked at the envelope. His words were: “Let them take everything, I don’t mind, because I have what is really important„Ÿthe letter!” What were the words written in this letter? Nothing “special.” Only that Peter’s parents loved him, missed him and they were happily thinking of the day he would be coming back home. His parents insisted he enjoy everything at the camp!” Ever after this, happily, he carried the letter with him wherever he went.

Like little Peter, with full assurance, we too can walk around as if clutching our own letter, knowing that Christ loves “me.” Happily, we can live the words “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).

The plan of redemption tells us that Jesus loves us, he did everything for us. This influences our stewardship, how we earn our money, build our home, live our life, work, relate to others, serve our church, manage our time, and handle our health. We now conform, walk and live “in the name of the Lord Jesus”, happy, “knowing that from the Lord we will receive the reward of the inheritance” (Colossians 3:24).

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October–December, 2008

Sacred Eloquence