Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Colossians 1:28-29)
Do you know what a mission statement is? Many people and organizations use a mission statement to clarify their purpose and goals. They use it clearly state what they do, how they will do it, and what success will look like. We can regard these two verses as a short yet remarkably complete mission statement for the Apostle Paul. Paul was a man who knew what he was doing and why he did it.
The words Him we preach mean that Paul’s mission had a focus: Jesus Christ. Paul’s preaching wasn’t focused on himself, his humor, or his ability entertain. It wasn’t focused on helpful advice or inspirational thoughts. Paul’s preaching was focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ: Him we preach.
The words warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom mean that Paul’s mission had a method. In his preaching he warned, he taught, and he used wisdom all along the way. You might say that he warned sinner, taught believers, and did it all with wisdom.
The words every man (repeated three times) mean Paul’s mission had an audience: everyone. He wanted to preach Jesus to old and young, rich and poor, slave and free, Greek or Jew, man or woman, smart or simple. His message of God’s good gift to us in Jesus Christ is so wonderful that it is for everybody.
The words that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus mean that Paul’s mission had a goal. The goal was to see God’s work completed in everybody. Preaching Jesus with wise warning and teaching would bring believers to maturity in Jesus.
The words to this end I also labor, striving mean that Paul worked very hard to accomplish this goal. He worked to know Jesus himself, then he world to preach Jesus wisely. He worked to bring the truth of Jesus to each life possible, bringing them to maturity in Jesus. Paul knew this would require his effort, his work. He gave it his all.
The words His working which works in me mightily mean that Paul understood that even his hard work was the gift of God at work in his life. Paul certainly worked, but it was the work of God in and through him that did it. He didn’t rely on his own strength and resources. He relied on His working, not his own ability.
What’s your mission? It may not be exactly the same as the Apostle Paul’s, but your mission should have the same focus on Jesus and clarity about it as Paul’s did. It should also rely on God’s working for accomplishment, even as Paul’s did. Work hard, and let rely on God’s work along the way.
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David’s weekly devotional is also translated into German.