Urgency and Energy: Reflections on the Passage for 2020 ~ by Nicole P.

I thought about these verses. I read them over. I tried to break them down, phrase by phrase. I considered what these verses mean to me in this new year 2020. And I came up with two main points.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is my prayer that these two points will be of encouragement to you too!
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me – Colossians 1:28, 29

Work with urgency

After I read these couple verses, my mind wandered to the words of Jesus. Right before healing a blind man, Jesus said, “We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4 ESV). A different translation reads, “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day…” (NKJV).  “I must work” is an incredible statement of Jesus. He Himself sensed urgency to do His work during His earthly ministry. And He accomplished His work. Then, at the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus entrusted to His disciples a clear assignment: go, make disciples of all nations, baptize them, and teach them to obey all that Jesus commanded (Matt.28:19-20).
We are now the workers of the day time. Now is the day time; now is the time to work. Opportunities for Gospel service will not last forever. So let us work together in the assignment that Jesus entrusted to us. Let us work with urgency! If we become lax now, we may bitterly regret it when night comes. At that time, we may wish to have another chance to work, but it will not be possible.
Pastor Jerome said that he is planning to do Bible studies at a seniors’ home and said that the home’s management will allow it. This is great! But this kind of openness to the Bible may not last for a long time as we see signs in our society of growing opposition to the Gospel message. So let’s work while we can!
Also, we each have been given specific gifts by God to carry out the assignment. These gifts were given to both edify Jesus’ body and share Jesus outside of the body. Dear friends, be faithful stewards of your gift. Don’t think that your gift is insignificant. Don’t covet or compare others’ gifts. Fan into flame your gift! (1 Tim. 1:6)

Work with His energy

Walking before God is not a light matter. And Gospel work is not light work. Apostle Paul acknowledges that in proclaiming Jesus and in warning/teaching everyone, he toils and struggles; yet he does so with the energy that Jesus powerfully works within him. On our own, we also are servants with limited resources, limited health, limited time, limited energy. In every way, we are limited. But the one whom we serve, Jesus, holds inexhaustible supplies of all kinds. 
There are many examples from the Scripture, from subsequent history, and even from our personal lives, where limited people accomplished God’s purpose given to them. Or better said, God accomplished His purpose through limited people and in spite of humanly-impossible situations. Some well-known Scripture examples:
  • Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7), but he may arguably be the greatest evangelist of all time.
  • Moses was slow of speech and of tongue (Ex. 4:10), but he led the Israelites out of slavery and out of a superpower’s grip.
  • Abraham was “as good as dead” and Sarah past child-bearing age (Heb. 11:11-12), yet from Abraham came the promised son Isaac and descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore.
None of us needs to fear that the assignment Jesus gave us will fail. This work will succeed for as long as God allows it to go on. There are times when we may feel like giving up. We may not see immediate fruit. We may face opposition. We may be outright persecuted. We may feel tired and worn. We may have to battle against our own flesh. The enemy may persistently try to discourage and frighten and frustrate God’s work and God’s workers.
But, in Gospel service, there is no toiling which is in vain. Not one prayer is in vain. Not one shed tear is in vain. Yes, some people will reject the Gospel, but others will believe it. Some will oppose the church, but others will join it. At the end, we already know there is victory. And meanwhile, we are able to toil and struggle in fulfilling our assignment because it is Jesus’ energy which powerfully works within us. 
Father in heaven, help us to proclaim Jesus. Help us to warn and teach everyone with all wisdom so that everyone will be mature in Christ. Help us to toil and struggle, even if we face opposition. Help us to know that we are not toiling in our own strength, but we struggle with Jesus’ energy that he powerfully works within us. May we hold fast to Jesus in 2020. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
by Nicole P.
[written for the February 2020 church bulletin]