The Commission 

The Commission
“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.”           Col. 1:25

    This was what I was commissioned to do when I was called into the church ministry, and I have been doing this for the last twenty-five years. Will the commission ever become obsolete or invalid?
    I have been thinking about this for the last year or so, and am still pondering about the issue. In fact, the decision has already been made, I am merely waiting for the approval from the Lord, and the indication of being approved that I am seeking is inner peace, indicating that I have made the right choice.
    Retirement isn’t even a Biblical concept, I thought. I can’t imagine the thought ever entered Paul’s mind for, despite his advanced age, he continued to seek new fields to spread the gospel. He was speaking about going to Spain, which might have been rather foreign to him both culturally and linguistically.
    To the apostles and other servants of old, retirement from preaching the gospel only meant one thing - the end of their earthly journey, which isn’t really something I have in mind at this point.
    Surely retirement from church ministry is by no means cessation from preaching the gospel. Besides, I have become stale and worn out, staying in one place for such a long time, and I might have outstayed my welcome.
    “The church does need injection of some new blood. They need young people to minister to young students,” I mentioned to Kathy. I do feel more and more justified to retire at this time.
    There was nonetheless a sense of sadness and loss after the decision had been made, as if the Lord was about to replace me with someone else, someone more suitable and capable for the young generation.
    “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.”
    The commission will remain steady and unchanged when the retirement becomes a reality, for to me the commission has long become a personal identity, which can never be violated, and to turn away from it is akin to nothing but self-betrayal.
    If this is really so, retirement is a mere misnomer, because it’s really a recharge of inner batteries, preparing ourselves for a new challenge. I guess I will soon be recharged. I guess I will thus include the word “rechargement” in my aging dictionary.


Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, June 7, 2018 7:12:00 AM Categories: Devotional


“…and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”           Col. 1:24

    As if Christ’s suffering was not quite enough, Paul had to fill up what was still lacking by his own suffering in the flesh. This is rather puzzling, isn’t it? If that were so, does it mean that we must do the same thing as the apostle once did, which was to suffer afflictions for Christ’s sake?
    Wasn’t the suffering of Christ on the cross all sufficient and nothing more was needed to be done to secure salvation for people then and now, and the ones who are to come? Did Christ really mean it was finished when he uttered with his last breath from the cross, “It is finished.”
    The mighty work of salvation was indeed finished some two thousand years ago, yet our suffering on Christ’s behalf isn’t finished, and it will never be finished until the day Christ returns.
    Why hasn’t the suffering ended, then? We may be asking. The answer to this is rather simple: Until the glorious day when we are delivered from this sinful flesh and from the world torn up by sin, we will continue to suffer afflictions of all sorts, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Isn’t this what we are experiencing at the present time?
    What we can hope for at best is to have a longer respite between our afflictions so that we can store up enough physical and emotional energy to endure pain when it arrives, and sufficient spiritual strength to overcome the inner weariness and dryness that usually come along with sorrow and suffering.
    In a small congregation such as ours, some of our members seem to have experienced enough suffering to “fill up” what was lacking in regard to Christ’s suffering. God’s people continue to suffer pain even after they have been redeemed, for they haven’t been completely saved. The Lord saved us from the dominance and damnation of sin, yet we are yet to be saved from our flesh and the tyranny of the world. We have been saved, yet continue to be saved, and it does looks like Christ’s redemption is yet to be finished, doesn’t it?
    I hate to be pessimistic and be a bearer of bad news, but suffering is inevitable and affliction will fall our way sooner or later but, as days go by and years pass, the gap between Christ’s suffering and our affliction will ultimately be filled up and suffering will be no more.


Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, June 6, 2018 7:48:00 AM Categories: Devotional

A Servant 

A Servant
“This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”    Col. 1:23
     It’s not a requirement that servants should serve their master willingly, for to serve is an obligation and services must be done whether they are willing to do it or not.
    Being duty-bound may be an important indication of one’s spirituality. This is probably one of the main differences between my wife and me as far as our spirituality is concerned. I tend to do things only when I feel like it, which doesn’t happen all that often; yet Kathy does what needs to be done whether she feels inclined to do them or not. When obligation calls, she always answers, which is not always the case with me.
    Which one of the two is the true servant of the Lord? I think the answer to this is rather simple.
    I seemed to be more willing to answer to the call of duty when I was a teenager working in a chicken farm than what I am as a minister of the gospel. I guess my job was on the line and I had to do what was required of me to survive. Therefore, for a little less than a year I continued to do the meaningless and mean chores on the farm day and night. Considering the importance and significance of my employment at the moment, why can’t I do the same things as when I was a small farmhand?
    The difference is rather simple, really. I was working under an authority who had the right to fire me on the spot then, so I had no option but to work hard. Yet being a minister in a single staff church, I serve more like a lone ranger than anything else. Indeed, I could have done a lot more than I have been doing for years, and I believe I will be held accountable before the judgment throne someday. Isn’t this one of the reasons why I am so eager to retire from church ministry? I simply have not measured up to the calling to which I have been called, and to retire from it appears to be the right decision.
    One thing that I do quite well is I have seldom pretended to be what I am not, and what I have written is by no means self-denigration at all; I am merely telling the truth.
    By the same token, the apostle was also telling the truth, for he was a duty-bound person who had an impeccable sense of integrity and he would do what he was called to do “in season of out of season.” When he seemed to have run out of places to preach, he decided to take the gospel to Spain; yet I decided to retire when I became too lazy to take the gospel to the unbelievers nearby. I suppose this is the difference between a true servant of God and a hired hand.


Posted by Robert Sea Tuesday, June 5, 2018 8:01:00 AM Categories: Devotional


“…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”           Col. 1:23

    Is this even a choice at all? I wonder. It has become a vital part of my being and to give it up is akin to self-betrayal. If I give up my faith, I will no longer exist, and what I am becomes merely my flesh, and nothing more.
    What makes me who I am and will be eternally is my faith in Christ Jesus. Faith in Him is the generator and sustainer of my being.
    There isn’t a single moment that passes during my day without me thinking about my faith and how it relates to my every activity, and my constant striving is to make my every deed a work of faith. Indeed, my faith in Christ is what makes me as a person, and without him I am just an empty shell.
    Why do I do what I do every day? Why do you do what you do daily? Merely make a living, or something far beyond?
    We do all things either for work or pleasure, yet they should always be related to our faith, for it’s our faith that governs our every act. We seem to be more “purpose-driven” at our work yet, as far as our recreation is concerned, we seem to be far more disinterested. From the point of faith, both are equally important. In fact, what we do for pleasure may indicate who we really are more than what we do for a living, for we do have a choice concerning the former. What we choose to do during our leisure time indicates who we are.
    Does doing gardening have any spiritual or eternal significance at all? I ask. My wife seems to spend a lot of her free time planting and caring for her plants in the yard, producing nothing but good looking flowers, which only last but a few days and then fade. What’s the spiritual purpose behind all the endeavor, if there is any at all?
    Surely, some hobbies are far more spiritual than others. What she does is really an act of creating beauty, which reflects God’s heavenly business, which is something the Almighty spends his eternity doing. There is indeed nothing unspiritual about gardening. Compared to what she does, my hobby of watching athletic competitions seems to be rather a mindless operation. There is nothing spiritual about it, is there?
    If what I do for pleasure has absolutely nothing to do with my faith, why do I keep on doing it year after year?


Posted by Robert Sea Monday, June 4, 2018 7:34:00 AM Categories: Devotional
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