Isn’t it wonderful that no matter how much we read and study the Bible, we still make new ‘discoveries!’
I recently made such a ‘discovery’ when reading Paul’s Rules for Holy Living in the third chapter of Colossians.
Paul writes that “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgives you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
A great guide, I thought, for the stewardship of our lives!
But then Paul continues, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. “And be thankful.”
Then later in the same chapter, Paul writes, “and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
As God’s chosen people — in our homes, our church, our workplace, our community — we have countless opportunities to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” As we strive to practice those virtues we are coming to a deeper understanding of the stewardship of our lives. And, as Paul adds, over all these virtues we are to “put on love.”
And be thankful!
Thankful that we have been baptized into Christ, thankful that we have been given God’s word, thankful that we have redemption through Jesus Christ, and thankful for all the blessings we have received, including material blessings.
And, if we are indeed thankful, then surely a manifestation of that gratitude will be a generous sharing of the love and blessings we have received from a gracious God. Paul reminds us that this thankfulness is to be expressed in whatever we do, in word and deed — another way of saying that we should put our “faith in action” always and in all ways!
Paul also writes, in his letter to the congregation at Colosse, “… as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
Can we sing with gratitude in our hearts to God without also expressing that gratitude our of our wallets and purses? That, I am the first to admit, is a tough question. It’s tough because the answer needs to be pleasing to us — and to God!
For some, a pleasing answer is easy. For others, a pleasing answer involves a real determination and courage. But then, as we respond, in word and deed, we can offer, with joy and thanksgiving, what God has first given us, our selves, our time and our possessions — signs of God’s gracious love!
May you continue to find new “discoveries” in God’s Word, and may you, in “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
© Copyright 1997, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
This essay first appeared in the Spring 1997 issue of Faith in Action. Articles in Faith in Action may be reproduced for use in ELCA and ELCIC congregations provided each copy carries the note: © Copyright 1997, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reprinted with permission.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an article from the archives of the Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship. For nearly a century, LLM assisted, inspired and trained congregations in important ways. LLM ceased operations on May 31, 2003, but the Stewardship of Life Institute is proud to continue its work by making its web resources available to a new generation of stewards.