"We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." (Colossians 1:28-29)Paul had a three part ministry and each part was executed in step-wise order. First he proclaimed Christ. He preached about who Jesus was, what He came to do, and what His message was towards us. Paul's goal was to reveal the mystery that was Christ so that we could all come to know and all could understand what God had accomplished in and through Jesus Christ. The knowledge and understanding of Jesus is the first step in believing and receiving Jesus; the first step in beginning our new life in Him.
Secondly, Paul admonished all mankind. Admonishment is a warning. Paul was warning his hearers about what awaits them if they should fail to recognize, believe, and receive Jesus. Paul warned them about the rewards and punishments of a life lived for self verses a life lived for God. Paul warned them of the eternal consequences their decision regarding Jesus would bring. After hearing the proclamation of Jesus, we are brought to a point of decision. Will we believe or will we reject Him. One decision leading to life and the other decision to physical and spiritual death.
Thirdly, Paul taught those who had received Christ how to live a life that was holy and worthy of God. The Greek word for "teach" is a prolonged form of a word that means "to learn;" the key here is the idea of "prolonged." This kind of teaching is more than the transfer of knowledge, it is the training of one in the way they should live. It is a learning that requires our obedience and practice in the things it teaches. It is not enough to hear the message of Christ, we must also put it into practice. It is a teaching that can take a lifetime to master.
This was the purpose for which Paul labored; to proclaim, admonish, and teach everyone so that he might be able to present them to Christ having been made perfect and complete. Paul labored for the lives of others. His ministry was not for his own aggrandizement, but for the betterment of others. Paul did not worry about how his work might reflect upon himself but how that work would be reflected in others. His goal was to make others complete and to make them ready for whatever God might desire of them in their lives. Paul also labored for God. Paul understood that his work in others was so that he might present them to God. Paul was not trying to build his own ministry or church (of which he did not have one) but rather to increase the family of God; to see more sons and daughters brought into God's family. Paul understood that, in the end, all things belong to God, even himself.
Paul worked in partnership with God. God provided the strength and Paul provided the labor. It is foolhardy to labor where God's grace has not provided the strength to sustain us. It is also irresponsible to not labor where God has called us and provided strength and grace for us. However, when we find the intersection of these two: God's strength and our labor, then much will be accomplished for the Kingdom of God. For each of us that might be a different place, bur for all of us there still remains something for us to labor for in the Kingdom of God.