Just as (the gospel) is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.” vs. 6Colossians 1:1-7
Things were happening in that little congregation in Colossae. The gospel was bearing fruit and growing and Paul was rejoicing. Life was good! We love to hear those kinds of reports in our congregations–they build enthusiasm and hope. But too often in these latter days we’ve not been hearing about wonderful things taking place. More often we hear of church closings, declining attendance at worship, and splintering congregations. And some are asking what’s wrong. What was the big secret at Colossae? Why can’t our faith communities be experiencing fruitful growth? It doesn’t appear that they had advanced technologies or vibrant youth programs–they seem to have relied on the proclamation of God’s grace. To communities experiencing oppression and poverty, the teaching and preaching of grace was a breath of fresh air. They began to take care of the poor, reach out to the sick, and build loving communities with Christ at the center. And the Spirit took care of the growth! Can that still happen? Of course. Our communities are filled with shell-shocked, spiritually hungry people yearning for hope and a word of mercy. They want to love and be loved–they are looking for exactly what the good news of Christ offers. And many, many communities, even now, are bearing fruit and growing! Praise God!
Thought for the Day: How do congregations get off track?