One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes (remember that sitcom?) was in season 9, “The Betrayal.” It’s one of my favorites for one reason – the entire episode is backward. The episode opens with the whole gang in India, sharing one-liners and criticisms that no one watching can understand. We have no context – yet. Then, scene by scene, the storyline reverses to the beginning conversation: plans to travel to India for a wedding, mistakes, and betrayals, and now the beginning is at the end.
This week’s sermon continues our summer series, “Colossians: Rediscovering Jesus,” as we focus on Colossians 1:21-29. I invite you to read and reflect on the passage backward. That’s right – start with verse 29, ask some questions, then work your way through the passage in reverse.
Depending on Christ’s Mighty Power
Here’s verse 29 (NLT): “That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”
That’s the verse that captured my attention. It’s about Paul’s drive and motivation. It’s about Paul’s reason to get out of bed every day and not give up, even in prison. It’s about his identity and purpose in life. It reveals his dependence on Jesus, even in prison. It even gives us clues about his ability and desire to unite such diverse cultures in the ancient world under Jesus.
Questions for Reflection
So what about you? Why do you work and struggle so hard? Is it worth it? What’s your reason for getting out of bed? What’s the basis of your identity and purpose for living? Have you discovered “Christ’s mighty power,” or are you still struggling on your own? Are you living for something more significant than short-term gratification, something larger than you? Something more important than you could ever accomplish on your own?
Tim Keller wrote, “As many have learned and later taught, you don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” Perhaps that was the Apostle Paul’s secret – and ours, too.