Word for Wednesday

For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh. Colossians 2:1

One of my sisters was visiting a dear old aunt on the west coast, a lady who most of my family had never met, because she had moved away before we were born. During the visit, my sister was amazed that the old lady knew so much about us, referring to us by name, and obviously aware of our ages and other information. My sister asked her how she could know so much about us. Auntie Lu replied, ‘How could I ever forget. I pray for you all every day.’ Auntie Lu was a bit like the apostle Paul in today’s text, carrying a burden for folks he had never met. Who do we pray for that we don’t know in the flesh?

It was one thing for our aunt to pray for us; she knew the family and all the connections, so she would have a natural interest in us. But Paul was praying for and working to help folks who were not connected to him in any way other than that they were Christians. He had never met them, he had not been involved directly in the Gospel work that had resulted in their salvation, and he had not been used to plant their Assembly. But Paul had a deep interest in something that you and I need to take a deeper interest in: the spread of the Gospel beyond our own location and our own people. This cost the apostle some effort and time, and it will cost us some effort and time. Paul would spend more time on his knees praying for the folks in Colosse and Laodicea. And, in order to pray, he would need to find out about the folks there, who were on the Assembly oversight, what problems the Assembly had encountered, what preachers had planted the Assembly, and what preachers had visited and ministered to them. He would need to learn names and situations, and many other details about those folks. This information would enable him to pray and to write to those folks. If Paul had written only to the Assemblies which he had seen planted, we would never have had this lovely epistle to the Colossians. Who knows what some Christians in a far-off place are deprived of because you and I fail to take an interest in them?

Like Paul, we can pray, once we find out about believers and their needs. In some cases, it is appropriate for us to contribute financially, and to take an interest in the Gospel as it is preached in their area. We can search out people who have a personal knowledge of people and places elsewhere, and find out from them what we can do. We need to understand that confining ourselves to the Lord’s work in our own little vineyard deprives ourselves of exercise and deprives others of blessing.

The Judgment Seat of Christ will bring out many surprises, not the least of which will be rewards for those who helped people they have never met here on earth. – Jim MacIntosh

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