To think about …
- 1. What attitudes or examples can you see in family or work life in the 21st Century which actively promote or present Christian values?
- 2. What kind of lead or example do you think the church should take in addressing both practical matters of family life and morality as a whole?
Some of mankind's greatest contributions have come from people who decided that no sacrifice was too large and no effort too great to accomplish what they set out to do.
Edison spent years producing and perfecting the first electric light bulb; after 4 years of intensive work W H Carothers at Du Pont produced the world’s first synthetic fibre (nylon) in 1935; William Carey worked for years in India with the BMS until he saw the first convert.
How much energy do we put into what we do for God? Is our service for Christ sometimes performed in a half-hearted manner? Why do some people who pursue material goals put us to shame with their hard work?
Our study today leads us to ask ourselves this kind of heart-searching question and reminds us that an effective Christian witness in every part of life is a powerful testimony to God's grace at work.
Pause for thought I: Partnership
- Please read Colossians 3:12 - 21. How do Paul's commands in vv. 18 - 21 address our human tendency to discourage and hurt rather than to build up and guide?
- Please read Ephesians 5:15 – 21 How might "submission" (also translatable as "being subject to") be expressed in a beneficial way to all through personal relationships and in the church as a whole?
- What attitude should we have in our personal relationships? (see Colossians 3 vv. 12 – 17) In what ways can we seek to support and share with those in the church family who are not married – the single and widowed?
After a hard day scrambling to find your way around in the world, it's assuring to come home to a place you know. God can be equally familiar to you. With time you can learn where to go for nourishment, where to hide for protection, where to turn for guidance. Just as your earthly house is a place of refuge, so God's house is a place of peace. (Max Lucado)
Being a godly father requires much perseverance and prayer as we seek God's guidance in being the types of fathers He wants us to be. (Jonathan Falwell)
Pause for thought II: Nurture & Guidance (Colossians 3 verses 20 & 21)
- How powerful is the example of a believing, loving parent or older Christian? (Give examples if you are able)
- What practical barriers are there to obedience (verse 20)? How might these be lovingly overcome?
- What attitudes and actions of parents embitter or discourage their children? (see verse 21). How can this be avoided?
- How could the motivations of pleasing the Lord (verse 20) and not discouraging others (verse 21) improve relationships within the church family?
It's said that Christopher Wren asked 3 masons what they were doing. The first replied that he was laying bricks. The second described his work as that of building a wall. But it was the third labourer who demonstrated genuine commitment for his work when he said, "I am raising a great cathedral." What are we working for?
Pause for thought III: Work and Witness (Colossians 3: 22 - 4:1)
- Please read Colossians 3 verse 22 to 4 verse 1. What personal motives should drive our work life, whether as employers, employees, retired or working at home? (verse 23)
- How does our service for Christ fit in with the rest of our life? (see verse 24)
- In what ways might the attitude, actions and faith of a Christian influence those around her/him?
- How would following the instructions in 3:18–4:1 demonstrate that “you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” (2:10)?
A Worker’s prayer
Dear Lord, please help me to accept human beings as they are; to recognise ability, and encourage it; to understand shortcomings and make allowance for them; to work patiently for improvement and not expect too much too quickly; to appreciate what people do right not just criticise what they do wrong; to be slow to anger and hard to discourage; to have the hide of an elephant and the patience of Job; in short, Lord, please help me be a better workmate Amen