That Paul was working up a sweat is clear. He makes a point of letting his Colossian readers know that he was working himself to the point of exhaustion for their sakes . . . that he was contending as an athlete might contend in a gymnastic games or as a soldier might battle against adversaries . . . that he struggled, and toiled, and greatly labored to achieve the prize that he had in view. And it wasn’t that he might realize the prize, it was that the saints at Colosse would know the taste of sweet victory . . . that they would kiss the trophy, as it were. The prize? Hidden treasures.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me. For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 1:28-2:3 ESV)
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In Him are the riches for all that is required to understand the dynamics of life on this world and of the nature and workings of the God beyond this world. In Him, there is the understanding of the remedy for our disease . . . His atoning sacrifice for all our sin . . . His imputed righteousness to cover our filthy rags . . . His once for all victory over death for our eternal glory. Through knowing Him, we know the Creator . . . in gaining the Son’s mind through the Spirit’s active agency, we find insight into the Father’s heart . . . in discovering the “mother lode” of wisdom and knowledge that are found in the Savior, we discover the foundation of full assurance as to our rescue and our hope.
So Paul worked his fingers to the bone that his kids-in-Christ would attain to the knowledge of the mystery of God’s love and grace found in Christ. He relentlessly labored so that he might present everyone mature in Christ. He toiled to the point of exhaustion that they might discover the hidden treasures found in the Son of God.
And I am of two minds as I reflect on this. One of awe . . . the other of determination.
Awe, in the reminder of the treasures and riches that are to be discovered in Christ. Fresh amazement as to the riches that are found through relationship with Him who is the image of the invisible God . . . the treasure to be discovered as we desire to know, ever more deeply, the fullness of His person and the beauty of His face toward us. Nothing on earth . . . no gain to be found on this planet . . . compares with the hidden treasures that are ours to discover in the risen Lamb of God.
Determination, in that I know my tendency to be distracted by so many other things. Determination to, by His grace and through the power of His Spirit, be more of an all out treasure hunter . . . seeking first the kingdom and its King . . . counting all things as loss but for the “surpassing worth of know Christ Jesus my Lord.”
If Paul so struggled and toiled that the children of God might find the treasures of wisdom and knowledge found in Christ, how much should I labor to pursue the riches that are mine in the One who has called me to be His own?
By His grace . . . for His glory . . .