How significant am I?
Have you ever asked yourself this question? Pause for a moment and think of your answer.
I’d like to think I have significance. On most days, however, in the grand scheme of things, my actual significance probably pales in comparison to millions of other people’s. Or does it?
In researching the history of the church of Colossae, I found an interesting reflection. One author wrote that the book of Colossians has been considered the most insignificant book of the Bible.
I couldn’t help but wonder, “What qualifies any book of the Bible to be insignificant?”
So, in searching for the insignificance of Paul’s letter, I found the absolute significance of the church of Colossae.
I compare its significance to the old saying, “Less is more,” and to the Scripture, “For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:10).”
Colossae was an upbeat town in its heyday. Nestled in the Lycus River Valley, it provided travelers on the road to Ephesus with cool, pure waters that flowed abundantly from nearby Mount Cadmus.
The archangel Michael was said to have saved the city from a flood, but even miracles such as that could not preserve Colossae. The city fell to ruin eventually: some sources say it was destroyed by an earthquake; others say the Turks demolished it; still others claim the town just simply died off because routes to Ephesus changed.
Whatever the cause, the city of Colossae remains where it once was, only out of sight. It lies, in ruins, under the earth’s surface. No excavation team has ever even bothered to dig it up. Talk about insignificance.
Yet, Paul, for some ridiculous reason, felt inspired to send a letter to this city – not once, but twice. He wrote to the church, and he also wrote to one of its members, Philemon, regarding a newly-found friendship Paul had formed in prison with Philemon’s slave Onesimus. (The alliteration in that sentence just kind of worked out that way.)
Together, these two little letters take up barely more than 4 pages in most Bibles. So insignificant.
I cringe to think what our world would be like without the inclusion of this so-called insignificance.
For within the pages of these two small books lies the foundation on which great nations have been established. That foundation is called equality. Sure, we know equality exists because of people like Paul, who claimed unity with the Gentiles.
But how many people realize that equality exists because of people like the Colossians, who were the Gentiles?
They stood in the midst of segregation and persecution and suffering and confusion, and yes, they faltered. They messed up. They believed dumb things and did even dumber things. But why? Why did they have such a hard time walking the straight and narrow?
Because everyone told them they were Gentiles! They were different. They were unclean. They were heathens.
They were insignificant.
Then Paul heard about all this nonsense, and he said, “No! You are not insignificant. You are chosen. I don’t even have to see you to tell you – in your valley low, in all your alleged insignificance – that you are qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints.
“As you are invisible to me, and God is invisible to you, it is with this great faith that we both know Jesus paid it all – for all! There is no partiality! There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, saints and sinners, masters and slaves, wives and husbands.
“For if you, Colossians, are insignificant … then so is everyone else.”
And through these insignificantly-labeled words, God Himself – through Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit – established equality for all mankind through Jesus Christ.
“You are not a pebble removed from the beach; you are gathered together with others of the same mind and heart.” – Matt Slick
Now ask yourself again: how significant are you?