Progress Report

“Why do you have so many missing assignments?” We seemed to ask this question constantly to our two oldest kids over the last two years. With virtual school affecting their routines and motivation, it was a battle to keep them up to date. Now that they’re back in school, we still stay on top of them to get their work done. Progress reports on their schoolwork are helpful, even if they aren’t always filled with the best news. 

As we look at Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, we find it begins with a prayer of thanksgiving as he hears good things about this church. Their progress report was much better than what we sometimes receive from school. 

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints. (Colossians 1:3-4)

I love the simplicity of the report Paul hears about this church, their faith in Jesus and their love for the saints. A good progress report for a follower of Jesus isn’t about rules being kept or rituals followed. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to more than rules and regulations; we are called to trust and follow Him in all things.

But there is a major distinction between a disciple’s progress report and any other one we may receive. Progress reports from school or work usually focus on our progress towards earning something. It could be earning a certain grade, key metric, or bonus. But following Jesus is not about earning anything; it is about receiving His grace and applying it to our lives. As Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-10, we are saved by grace so we may live out the good work He has prepared for us. 

If someone were to provide a progress report on your life, what evidence would they see of faith in God and love for others? I know none of us are perfect, but I pray we can see God’s hand at work in our lives as we grow with grace. As we encounter opportunities for faith and love, may we each progress towards the good work God has for us. Let’s take a step in that direction this week.

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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