When I read a novel, I tend to skip those little quotes and poem thingies at the beginning of the chapters. Most of the time I don’t understand them; they leave me confused and feeling ignorant. I want to say, “Enough with these inscrutable quotes! Let’s get on with the story, already.” There are sections of the Bible that make me restless, too. In the final paragraphs of Colossians (Colossians 4:7 ff), Paul gives final greetings and instructions to specific people that don’t seem to mean much to me, 2000 years later.
But this morning, as I read those verses, I was struck by how passionate and unstoppable Paul was. His last few sentences are filled with words like “struggle,” “encourage,” “fellow workers,” sending,” etc. The last verse reads:
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. – (Colossians 4:18)
Very likely, Paul dictated most of his letters because he had a physical handicap with his eyes. Also, he was chained up as a prisoner. He had two good excuses to give it a rest. But he was absolutely consumed with the urgency of telling people about Jesus. As he wrote earlier in the letter,
For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1:29)
What’s the deal? Why was Paul so passionate? My guess is it had a lot to do with his being personally visited by Jesus as he traveled to Damascus (see Acts 9:1 ff). Jesus showed up, blew his mind and changed his whole outlook. So Paul had first–hand proof Jesus knew where he was and what he was doing.
Well, so what? What’s that have to do with us? There is a good chance that Jesus has personally visited you with proof of Who He is and has changed your whole outlook, too. Maybe He didn’t blind you with intense light, but if you reflect on what He did do, the circumstances that led to your personal conversion, you will probably see they were arranged for you. Your Savior knew where you were and what you needed. He still does. He also knows what He has equipped you to do. Let the truth of that motivate you. Tell others how wonderful it is to know and follow Jesus.
But, maybe you have not experienced such a personal “visit” from Jesus. If so, and if you are open to it, let down your defenses and pay close attention. Jesus will show up in a way that will rock your world. You can count on it because He knows you, loves you, and knows what you need.