This morning I had a weird thought while reading one of Paul’s letters. In Colossians 1:17, Paul wrote, “He is before all things, and by him all things are sustained (Aramaic Text).”
Funny thing, as I read that verse I heard the voice of Sam Jackson in that TV commercial saying, “What’s in your wallet?”
This must mean something! So, once I fill you in on the backstory, maybe it’ll make some sense.
The letter to the church at Colosse belongs within a group of Paul’s letters known as his jailhouse series. Why? It is because he was most likely in prison when he wrote them. Paul was no stranger to a jail cell!
(Included in the jailhouse series are Ephesians, Philemon and Philippians as well.)
Most likely Paul’s young colleague Timotheus is locked up with him! Hence the validity of my mother’s old, standby proverb, birds of a feather hang together.
The Colossian church is located in a region called the Lycus Valley and the folks there are a wee bit on the weird side. Shall we say they are really into free thinking?
The fly in the ointment is their style of thinking has watered down the nature of Jesus and to put a finer point on things, God is spirit, Jesus is man and the two never mix!
So, Jesus must be spirit only! Well, this simply will not do!
To hold that Jesus’ nature is only of the ethereal sense means he was removed from us, he never felt pain like we do and therefore he could not really identify with our plight down here on earth.
So, Paul put his foot down and addressed this heresy head-on! And, he does it in a clever way by building a case for celebrating the otherworldly, works of Christ while on earth.
“(God) has delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us to the kingdom of his beloved son by whom we have obtained salvation and forgiveness of sins. (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God and the first-born of every creature (Colossians 1:13-15 Aramaic Text).”
Wow! The first-born of every creature. Jesus is a brand-new kind of human being and believers are granted the right to be grafted into this new world order!
I also hear old Isaiah saying, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined (Isaiah 9:2 Aramaic Text).”
So, what does any of this have to do with Sam Jackson? Well, I am glad you asked.
What’s in your wallet? And, I am not just talking about money!
I looked inside my wallet and you won’t believe all that’s in there that is not money! (There’s actually not a ton of money in there period!) My wallet is a microcosm of my life contained in a tiny, leather folder!
My Red Cross blood donation card is in there! Also, my Community Blood Bank card, my dive certification card, my Sam’s Club card, my driver’s license, my plastic, my pass to the Restaurant Depot and much more.
Inside my wallet is the story of my life; and, everything in there can be used by God in some way to do some kingdom building. The only restriction is what’s in my heart!
Again, Paul said, “In him all things are held together!” Today is a good day to consider that all things in our lives are glued together by Jesus Christ…all of it!
All things include our health, our marriage and relationships, our families, our time, our energy and gifts and talents, our livelihood, every movement of our being. All of life is about God and his mission!
Again, the only rub seems to be that what’s in our wallets is restricted by what’s in our hearts!
Let every heart,
Prepare him room.
And, heaven and nature sing!