I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, (church), to make the word of God fully known. Colossians 1:25 (with some context from v 24).
In this verse, minister and church filled in the blanks of Paul’s life. I’ll fill in some of mine:
I became a wife according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, husband.
I became a mother according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, children.
I became a communications director according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, people of Grace Church.
These kinds of exercises always excite us, because they put us at the center, tapping into the central cry of our culture:
What was I made to do?
In my personal journey, I’m only starting to believe another set of words for the blanks, ones I first voiced when I was seven: that I should be a writer.
This realization gives me many things — priorities, thoughts, dreams, joy.
But the one thing it does not give me as a Christian is the answer to the question of what I was made to do.
We find that answer by adding in the rest of Paul’s sentence:
I am becoming a writer according to the stewardship of God that was given to me for you, reader, to make the word of God fully known.
That phrase is everything. Because when I put the focus on the blanks — on what I am doing and not why I am doing it — I tie my holiness to finite jobs and measures of success and society’s norms. I link the worth of my service to the idol of service itself. If my career or culture or family vanished tomorrow, my life in Christ would die along with them.
We must never substitute calling for purpose.
Calling can change, but our purpose remains grand and glorious and true, whether we are at home or at work or in the unemployment line or, like Paul, in a lonely house prison outside of Rome, scratching out letters to churches far away.
We were made followers of Christ to make the word of God – its truth, its power, its effectiveness, its wisdom – fully known. We were meant to glorify God by taking the precious grace and peace of the gospel and giving it away — in stories we read to our children, in kindness we show to our neighbor, in mercy we grant to our enemies.
The words in your blanks may change over seasons or overnight.
The reason for the blanks is the only thing that stands forever.
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