Going Deeper 7-11-19

‚ÄčThe second reading for Pentecost 5...
Colossians 1:1-14   Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.  In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.  You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.  This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.  For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.  May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

As a Pastor, I very much appreciate Paul's love for his people and his pray for them: "That you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God."  Yes, that is beautiful!  And this is my prayer for all of us.  I have taken some criticism over the years for never being content with where I/we are in our mission and ministry.  Perhaps my discontentment has been fueled by passages like this one.  

I do not feel as though I am totally "filled with the knowledge of God's will..."  I don't believe that I will be able to fully comprehend the love and the will of God.  It will take a lifetime of pursuit.  And that is the point.  Since we will never be able-- on this side of the grave-- fully comprehend God and His ways, we must see our transformation as a process.  The goal is continual growth "in all spiritual wisdom and understanding."  No matter who we are, we have room to grow.

As I continually try to communicate, this process takes effort on our part.  While we contribute nothing to salvation, we must cooperate in our ongoing transformation.  This underscores the importance of gathering regularly for worship around God's word and sacrament, being involved in Bible Study (both individual and group), growing in prayer, and actively involving ourselves in the mission and ministry of our church family.  Without being intentional and disciplined, it is not possible to "grow in the knowledge of God."

While I cannot command or demand it, I do urge, call, admonish, encourage and instruct you to make nurturing and practicing your faith your highest priority.   "May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power."

With You on the Journey,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."