November 6, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture—Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
We all have reached a point in life (in the week, in the workday…) where it would have been helpful to remember the things that are good and true and noble—a little tangible glorious light of God in the midst of darkness around us. It would do us well to remember that we are qualified in spite of good or bad circumstances. It will keep us humble to remember that other believers around us are just as qualified also. It would also do us well to remember that we are rescued from one domain to another.
In verse 12 of Colossians 1, Paul provided great assurance in his thanksgiving. He reminded the Colossians that they are qualified. Whatever we may endure, we have this assurance of belonging to something far greater than we could ever ask or imagine. And to God be the glory that this inheritance, this assurance of who we are because of who we belong to, cannot be thwarted by circumstances.
We all have reached a point in life (in the week, in the workday…) where it would have been helpful to remember the things that are good and true and noble–a little tangible glorious light from God in the midst of potential layoffs, unreasonable timelines, or the monotony of repetition. As an engineer, I can recall a number of distinct moments when frustrations overflowed. It was not the assurance that a structural steel manifest would be expedited to get things to production that assuaged uncertainties. Instead, it was a discussion with some of us about why we were qualified to do the work we do, because God is not cavalier about where He places children (or iron for that matter.)
The assurance that one is qualified leads to the question: how can that be when there are so many things that can easily press against us? We are pressed from every direction and very often that pressing can come from inside. There are some who are not often shaken, so it is easy to forget that everyone has a breaking point where the resilient hope tends to wane. Otherwise, there would be no point of reminders in the scriptures for all of the saints. Paul gave these qualified ones in Colossians a good reminder of where they are.
I think in many sports there is a place where the coach decides that a marathon is necessary. In the workplace, it is called overtime or “(insert a name here) didn’t show up to work so we are going to need you to work a little longer.” When life feels like a marathon in one place it may be manageable. But when all your endeavors require an unreasonable stride, we need a reminder that we are qualified. We also need to remember where we really are. I remember some unpaid overtime doled out by a coach during a wrestling practice. While I was just as tired as everyone, I was able to keep going because a trainer sent a message that my Dad was outside. He was coming to get me out of this coach’s domain of physical destruction. My response was to keep moving.
Keep moving, beloved; you are in a different domain.
In my situation I had my dad coming to snatch me from the hands of endless lines and crunches. Paul tells us that God has already snatched us out of one domain. He snatched us from one domain characterized by chaos and loss of fruitfulness and sorrow and placed us in the kingdom of his son whom he deeply loves. We are not yet there altogether, but then again we are already there.
Indeed, we all have reached a point in life (in the week, in the workday…) where it would have been helpful to remember the things that are good and true and noble—a little tangible glorious light of God in the midst of darkness around us. It would do us well to remember that we are qualified in spite of good or bad circumstances. It will keep us humble to remember that other believers around us are just as qualified also. It would also do us well to remember that we are rescued from one domain to another.
We get a great practical example of it in our text. The letter writer is assured that he is qualified by God as an apostle and so he writes, truly, not from the prison cell he probably sits in but from a kingdom where good news reigns supreme. A letter carrier is qualified and makes the trek some hundreds of miles not to the city of Colossae but to a qualified people that will be brothers and sisters in a kingdom characterized by everlasting love. That kind of assurance and hope produces encouragement and endurance. It spurs us on to do what we know we need to do. It keeps us going even if others do not understand. Remember the hope that we will one day know just how qualified we are and how great of a rescue God has performed. And that kind of hope will not end in disappointment. Remember the kingdom you (and others) were rescued and now belong to.
What good can happen when we remember that we are living in this world but living out the kingdom of God?
What does your life look like when you are tired (frustrated, discouraged or prideful)?
Find a weary believer in your workplace or neighborhood. Watch their life. Look through their lens and their heart at how they see the world. Take time to talk to God about your thanks to him that we are converging on the better kingdom (less chaos, endless love). Find a unique way to create a pause and encourage the weary believer: “Keep moving brother/sister; you are in a different domain.”
God, there is always something present to remind me that something is amiss in the present state of everything around me. It is clear both from around me and in myself. Thank you for these disruptions in the sense that they remind us that this current state of everything is not yet what will be. We need you to help us look at the world, at others, and ourselves with the lens of the kingdom on our eyes and hearts—so that we will not become so despondent to give up on life, or so enthralled with the now to think that this is the best it can be. Remind me that I and others are rescued ones; help us to give every glimpse of the kingdom to come in the places we live our lives as leaders. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: The Greatest Rescue Story Ever Told
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.