Chapter 3:1-4 (ESV) - If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Question to consider: What did Paul mean by “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth?”
Paul, a prisoner in Rome, wrote this letter to a small church in Colossae whom he had never met but cared for deeply and kept continually in his prayers. Faced with the reality that it may not be the Lord’s will for him to ever make an appearance there, he directed Timothy write down core truths of the faith which would keep them from being deceived by heresies that would come from the likes of the Judaizers and the Nicolaitans.
He affirmed that Jesus was the eternal Son of God in flesh, and that He created and continues to sustain all things. Even though we sin in the flesh, Jesus became flesh to reconcile us to God, giving us His righteousness and nailing our sin to the cross. In doing so, Jesus made the Old Covenant obsolete so those in Christ were no longer to be bound to the dictates of the Law or circumcision (which dates back to Abraham), for Christ circumcised our hearts in baptism.
Given the reality of a New Covenant in Christ, Paul wrote in today’s passage that the Colossians should live like people who have been raised from the dead. Rather than focus on things of this world which are perishing, they should seek eternal things, things that are above with Christ who rules from heaven.
Of course this exhortation applies to us as the reader as well. We have a tendency to want to put all of our energy into building our castles and kingdoms here on earth. Obviously, we should be good stewards of whatever material possessions God has given us and be grateful for them, but to what end? Even our dream home is going to crumble, and our shiny new car will begin to rust. However, using our resources and abilities to reach others with the gospel is an investment in something that bears imperishable fruit.
It is good to educate our children to get along in the world and be good citizens and neighbors. However, it is even more valuable to make sure they are rich in the knowledge of Christ and strong in their faith. This year, I will be teaching the middle school religion class at Hope Lutheran Day school. Believe me when I tell you that this class is eternally more important than Language Arts or Algebra and should be treated as such. I am a computer programmer and blogger so obviously I get excited about math and writing, but there is no value to either of them if I do not do them to the glory of Christ and with the hope that I will one day live in His kingdom.
Dear heavenly father, help us to do all things for the glory of Christ and with the hope of His return. May we use the time You have given us to seek after things that have eternal value. Please teach us to be good stewards of the resources You have given us and to think about how we can use them in service to You. Amen.