This salutation by my own hand–Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen. (Colossians 4:18)
No Complaints On My Part
The air has a chill to it, cooler than normal as I roll out of a soft bed early in the morning. Sleep came easily and the night passed with no distractions. The warmth of the covers enclosed me gently in a peaceful nights rest. Enjoyed a productive day yesterday with plans for Bible study and work in the coming hours. There is no lack of food with the shelves lined with all the essentials of life. The closet is filled with comfortable clothing. Shoes in various colors are arranged in their proper place. Since childhood I have never know hunger or want. When I have been in prisons or jails I am there as a visitor who is allowed to return to the comfort of my home.
Paul was in a Roman jail. The air was thick in his nostrils. It was a foul stench from prisoners who languished in agony and despair from Roman oppression. The only beds these men knew was a hard, cold, filthy foundation of stone and dirt with no concern of comfort. Sleep was nearly impossible with only fleeting moments of frightful spurts of restless ease. It was a miserable experience that offered little hope to those incarcerated. Freedom was prohibited not only by the security of the jail door but also the constant clanging of the chains that encased his hands and feet. Paul was in a dire and dreadful place.
He writes a letter to the church at Colosse and fills the letter with everything positive and upbeat. It is filled with thanksgiving, love, and sprinkled with notes of joy for suffering the bonds of imprisonment for Christ. He encourages them. He exhorts them to greater service. He describes the character of the new man as the elect of God. Remarkably he reminds the brethren to be thankful in everything. His letter outlines hope for wives, husbands and parents. He asked the saints to pray for him to have opportunities to preach the gospel to others while in chains. He is in chains. His life is not easy. It is a hard existence and he is encouraging others.
What have I to complain about in my life? Compared to the endurance of Paul I suspect that none of us have much to fuss about. He closes his letter with the simple request to remember him in his chains. What a testimony of a man who gave his all for Jesus Christ. We are blessed with so many things unhindered by the world to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no chains that bind us. Only the shackles of the cursed blessings that take our eyes off the ministry of sharing the gospel with others. Our chains are the excuses we use to do so little in the work of the Lord. The rattle of apathy rings loudly in our service to Jesus Christ. We are more concerned about comfort here rather than comfort there. May God bless us with the spirit of Paul to share a positive spirit of sacrifice in helping others see the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. Thank you Paul. I will remember your chains.
The modern church member all too often avoids persecution by taking the line of least resistance and living in a truce with this age. The early Christians wore scars but we wear medals. (Vance Havner 1901-1986)