Colossians 4a

Several have mentioned that they are learning new things and seeing fresh lessons in their reading of God’s word. One the powerful things about the word of God is its ability to be fresh, relevant and applicable to us each time we read it. Don’t miss out!

Colossians 4a

Colossians 4:1 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.

Just as Paul pointed out the responsibility of slaves and servants to do right in their service, so he also points out that masters have a similar duty. Just as servants working here on earth do their work for earthly people just like they would do it for the Lord, so, too, should masters or bosses should remember that they have (and work for) a greater boss in heaven.

Note the word Paul uses here is kurios, the exact word also translated as Lord. The reference is literally to any kind of a boss or higher-ranking person and is used as a term of respect and acknowledgment of that higher position rather than a term for God. Our God is certainly our (and everyone else’s!) ultimate Lord. But we mustn’t imagine that every time we see the word “Lord” that it means God.

The real lesson here is that we ALL have the responsibility to act like Jesus. It doesn’t matter whether you are the boss or the lowliest employee. The same holds true even for elders as they are counseled to not “lord it over the flock.” Do remember that this certainly does NOT imply that Christians do not have to actually obey their bosses or their elders!

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; [3] praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; [4] that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

Here’s in interesting thought: As we are talking about responsibility to do our best in  every job that we have, Paul links that to our life in Christ! Christian life is a part of every day, every hour, every task we do. It is who we are, and prayer and thanksgiving to God needs to be a part of us always.

It is also important to keep in mind, as Paul requests here, that our prayers need to include others and their faithfulness. Also, once again, Paul reminds us of the importance of the message we carry to the world. This is the mystery of Christ that Paul calls foolishness to the world in 1 Corinthians chapter 1. Because we know the truth, we have a responsibility to share the Good News.

Colossians 4:5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. [6] Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Dealing with people that are not a part of God’s family is always a challenge! We are constantly struggling to balance the pigs (cf. Matthew 7:6) and the possibles (cf. Jude 22- 23). Being wise in our dealings with the world is going to bring us to opportunities. They need to be our focus rather than the swine.

Verse 6 includes an interesting analogy that has passed into common speech. Never forget that, just as well-seasoned food is tasty, we may also season our words to make them a better tool in outreach.

Colossians 4:7 As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. [8] For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; [9] and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.

Tychicus had worked with Paul for some years (cf. Acts 20:4) and evidently is personally delivering this letter and the letter we title Ephesians to the congregations in the region of Ephesus and Colossae (cf. Ephesians 6:21). He would continue to be a coworker (Titus 3:12) even to the end of Paul’s life (cf. 2 Timothy 4:12).

Also travelling with Tychicus is Onesimus, a slave owned by Philemon of the Colossian church. Many, if not everyone, in the congregation would have known Onesimus and certainly by now would have known much of the story of the runaway slave. What has changed drastically is that Onesimus is now a Christian returning home to be a faithful coworker with his master and the church.

Such has always been the story of God and His dealings with people. Prodigal sons come home. Lost sheep are found. And even runaway slaves become fellow slaves of Christ with their old masters.

Never forget the changes that God can bring to any life. No one is unworthy. No one is too far gone. No one so sinful that Jesus cannot forgive and change their life from slave to a child of the King!

—Lester P. Bagley