A New Year’s Resolution

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

So, that’s that for 2009! How was it for you? It’s been a bit of a mixed year for me. At the beginning of the year I suffered from a period of illness. It’s also been a year of real hard work. But there have also been many positives, not least the fact that I got engaged! It’s also been a year of real spiritual growth for me, helped in no small part by Crossring; it’s been great studying God’s word together, and in particular I feel that I have a far better understanding of Mark’s gospel as a consequence of our Mark Marathon series.

I wonder what 2010 holds in store for us? The highlight of my year will undoubtedly be my wedding, but I also have a three week holiday in California to look forward to this summer! Hopefully, my faith will continue to deepen too, as I continue to commit myself to reflecting on God’s word every day.

As we enter the new year, though, and indeed new decade, what better way than to reflect on a verse of scripture that could even act as a motto for the coming year. Sometimes we can get caught up in the grind of every day life, and work can seem like a real slog – particularly if we have a low opinion of our bosses. But in today’s verse, Paul urges us to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to our endeavours, as if we were working for the Lord rather than for men. Here on earth we may feel that we do not get the recognition or reward that our efforts deserve, but ultimately, if we work hard, we will find our reward in heaven. It is particularly important that we commit ourselves to our work, since, as Christians, we are ambassadors for Christ in all that we do. People will judge us as individuals, but also as representatives of our faith, whether we work hard or whether we neglect our duties. It is important, therefore, that our colleagues and employers see us in a positive light.

Why not join me in making this a new year’s resolution? Why not resolve this year to work with all your heart, as if working for the Lord?

Jesus the Creator

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

Colossians 1:16

My mum is an artist.  She has produced some amazing works of art over the years, and continues to do so.  I, on the hand, am no artist.  When I was at school, my art teacher told my parents that I had absolutely no artistic talent whatsoever, and might as well give up now.  And that’s someone who was supposed to be supporting and encouraging me!  I guess we all have our different talents, and we can’t all be good at everything!

Luckily, Jesus is a slightly better artist than I am!  As Paul tells us in this letter to the Colossians, Jesus is the creator; “by him all things were created.”  God the Father actually created existence through Jesus.  John also explains this at the beginning of his gospel.  He tells us that “the Word became flesh,” (John 1:14), having previously explained how the Word was with God, and was God, and that all things were made through the Word (John 1:1-3).  Jesus did not start to exist, therefore, when he was born to Mary, but has always existed.  He is much more than the man who happened to walk around Palestine for thirty or so years, before winding the Romans up and being executed.

In our current Mark Marathon passage, Jesus is getting a little exasperated at his disciples.  They have seen him multiply food on two occasions now, but they still haven’t grasped who Jesus is.  Yet the fact that Jesus was able to multiply bread and fish is small fry to what he did in the beginning.  It is one thing to make more bread and fish from something you already have, but Jesus was responsible for the creation of the fish and the grain that made the bread in the first place.  Not only that, made he made the water that the fish swim in, and the ground that the grain grows in!

Sometimes we lose track of who Jesus really is.  I think we can get like the disciples, and fail to totally grasp the true identity of Jesus.  Jesus not only died to us to bring us into communion with God.  He created the world for us in the first place!