Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
This whole passage is so rich! Sometimes the “theological” parts of Paul’s letters can seem very difficult, as even Peter acknowledged, (2 Peter 3:16) but his passages like this, included in just about all of his letters, hit us right where we live. This verse doesn’t leave out any part of our lives. The Japanese expresses it as “everything about you.” Is there anything in your life you can’t honestly do in Jesus’ name, that is, as His representative? Then it’s something you have no business doing. Most of us have a very limited image of who God is and how He is involved in our lives. Jesus’ famous words about the hairs on our head being counted (Matthew 10:30) should be corrective to that. We have trouble thinking of going to the toilet in Jesus’ name, but that is an important part of our physical health, and we are stewards of the bodies we inhabit. Most people couldn’t imagine sex in Jesus’ name, but that’s because they have fallen for the devil’s lies about it, instead of keeping it in the context of holy matrimony. (Now there’s an old-fashioned term for you! C. S. Lewis, that marvelous Christian writer of the 20th Century, had some very interesting views on that, having married relatively late in life.) The point is, no part of our life is excluded, but in everything we are to be Christ’s agents, giving thanks to God for everything He allows us to experience.
I’m in the middle of a bit more training in this. Yesterday, as we were in the process of taking a 97-year-old friend out for a birthday dinner, we had a call from another friend that her mother had died the day before. That friend was very upset, after having called to talk to the Buddhist temple where the family is registered, because all they would talk about was money (knowing that our friend is well-to-do). She said they were like gangsters! She’s not yet a Christian, but I did her wedding a few years back, and she wanted to know if I would be willing to do a small family funeral for her mother. I of course agreed, so after we had finished the birthday dinner we hurried home and changed clothes and went to conduct an informal wake service. Today we will go to the home again for the funeral, and then to the crematorium. Our plans for today are completely changed from what they were, but we have the conviction that we are acting as Christ’s representatives. We have known that family for 40 years, interacting with each of them in many ways on many levels, and this could well be God’s plan for bringing the current generation to Him for salvation. I cannot control that, but I can act in humility and obedience, and leave the rest up to Him.
Father, thank You for Your plans. We certainly can’t see to the next minute, but You see from Creation to eternity. Help us indeed act as Christ’s agents in everything, so that all thanks and praise may go to You. Thank You. Hallelujah!