Precepts of Stewardship from Colossians 1:24-29
Paul’s Labor for the Church
24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. (NIV)
Are you happy when you can suffer for others? Being poured out, used, exhausted—even abused by the church in which you serve? How is your church stewardship?
By Christians who connive against you, who take advantage of you? Paul was! He saw it as His service of stewardship to our Lord! Suffering for the church is like continuing the suffering Christ did for the Church! This is not about being abused; it is about being totally dedicated to serve and not be self-centered or only pursue what suits and pleases us as leaders.
God has given us responsibility with our “church stewardship,” and when we lead, we have to take this seriously. Our church leadership responsibility is simple; we are to proclaim Christ’s message and be His display case for others to see His Word and Work. This is also an incredible opportunity and privilege as countless others through the millennia would love to have this occasion that many of us squander or misuse or become apathetic about! We should be pleased to tell people about Christ and His message, and do so cheerfully as God cheerfully gave it to us.
For the big secret is to effective church stewardship is simple, it is where our focus and trust is placed: Christ, the One, True, God, and Creator of the Universe, lives in us as believers. He is our assurance, hope, and reason for all we are and do. And we, as leaders or not, should be grateful to share in as we display His Glory. So let us learn and grow so we can be better at knowing Him and showing Him as we depend on Christ and His Mighty Work in us—empowering us!
This passage in Colossians is the display showing us that Christ’s Lordship is universal and cosmic, crossing space, time, and thought. He is eternal—always was, and is, and will be! God comes to us as The Sovereign LORD and “pursues” us. He is the giver of unmerited redemption. He has come as an impact to the universe as His redemptive work impacts our hearts and minds. So, He is displayed by our lives as He is displayed in the universe. This is how we become good stewards with His Church. In context, this passage also tells us that since Christ is the Firstborn of all creation, He must also be so in our spiritual lives and in the leading a church. If Christ is not first in our lives, He won’t be so in our churches ministries, boardrooms or decisions, and this puts us on shaky ground, bound to crumble!
Paul’s point is that Christ is Supreme and the head of the universe and the Church, including the one we lead. if we do not get this we become not only deficient in our churches stewardship, we become disloyal and disobedient to His Lordship. Christ is above all and He is the all in all! It is His Church we merely mange it of His glory! If we do not get this we are in the wrong! Then, false teaching will replace sound doctrine, just as it did in Paul’s day, as so many misguided churches whose teachings do nothing but distance and distract people from God, His precepts, and His call (Eph. 1:21-23; 4:15; 5:23).