Ordinary People + Ordinary Tasks = Extraordinary Results

Feb 2, 2024 | Articles

The threat that false teaching brings to the Christian community is always cause for serious concern. Paul knew it and did all that he could from the limitations of his arrest in Rome. He wrote lettersone of them to the believers in Colossae-assuring believers of who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them. These prison epistles have survived down through the ages as four of the sixty-six books of the Bible.

Colossians is believed to be the first of the letters Paul wrote from prison. In it he offers encouragement to a small band of believers who were still young in Christ, yet growing spiritually. Although pleased with their progress, he was concerned about the direction they might take in the future. He wrote to warn them of the false teaching that had infiltrated their community and to reinforce their faith so they would be able to stand against all the lies.

Paul was not, however, concerned solely with their relationship with Christ. He knew that believers live in a web of relationships and that these have an impact on their relationship with God. This becomes evident in his letter to the Colossian believers as we examine the list of instructions he includes in his letter.

Most of the instructions deal with the believer’s relationship with God, but a fair share address the believer’s relationship with other believers as well. Paul was well aware of the importance of community in the life of the believer.

We learn many important truths in Paul’s letters. But in the end, it’s not his teaching that matters; it’s the application of that teaching to life. The last twelve verses of Colossians consist of Paul’s greetings from those who are with him in Rome. At first glance, this seems like nothing more than a list of relatively unimportant people. However, the list has a huge application to our lives today.

Its relevance is best seen in Charles Colson’s “Ordinary People,” (Moody Monthly, May 1987.) As founder and president of Prison Fellowship, Chuck Colson visited Washington, D.C., to speak at a gathering of inmates. He was accompanied by internationally recognized gospel singer Wintley Phipp and an ex-felon. Chuck relates the comment of one inmate that was given at the closing ceremony:

“I really appreciated Chuck Colson’s message, and I was stirred by Wintley Phipp’s singing. Herman’s testimony reached me right where I was at. But frankly, those things really didn’t impress me so much as did the ladies among the volunteers who, after the crowd and TV cameras left, went into the dining hall, with all the noise and confusion, and sat at the table to have a meal with us. That’s what really got to me.”

That’s what it is all about—ordinary people doing ordinary tasks that result in extraordinary results for the Lord. These were the people Paul tells us about at the end of Colossians. Without them, Paul would never have been able to accomplish all that he did.

We tend to feel we’re not good enough, or worthy enough, to do God’s work. That simply is not true. As He did in the days of the Apostle Paul, He continues to do today: He uses ordinary people to do ordinary jobs and from them He creates extraordinary results. Paul was surrounded by ordinary people who helped in ordinary ways. As a result, even while he was in prison, the gospel was spread and believers were encouraged.

There is no reason why we cannot be used in the same way.

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