My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
Ministry done in the name of Jesus Christ is never a one-man (or one-woman) show. We all need help, and no one can do it all on their own. Not even Paul. Truth is, Paul was not able to travel or meet with large groups of people at this point in his life because he was being held by the Romans under house arrest. He needed the support of brothers and sisters in faith to continue his own work, and he was grateful for the ministry being carried out by other believers throughout the Church. The same must also be true for each of us and for the church today. There is so much work to be done, and so many people to reach with the love and message of Jesus. No one can do it all alone, not even someone with great talent or dedication to the work. All of us are needed.
The greetings sent from Epaphras to the Colossians are particularly meaningful. This “servant of Christ Jesus” was from Colossae, and he knew the people of that church personally. He prayed for them, “always wrestling in prayer,” asking God to help them be strong and mature in faith. What a wonderful testimony to the love we share for one another in the church. Even while apart, even after many months of separation, Epaphras remembered his dear friends and prayed earnestly for them. It’s also touching that Paul took notice of his ministry partner’s love for his friends, and that he wanted to assure the Colossians that Epaphras was well and working hard for the Gospel.
For us, these greetings are a call to shared ministry. Each one of us has a role to play in God’s Kingdom, and we also need to support our sisters and brothers in their service to Jesus. Do you see and appreciate the ministry others perform? Do you make room for them to use their gifts according to the Spirit’s leading? We should rejoice that God has called so many people into the church where we can serve side-by-side in the mission Jesus gave us. The church needs every Aristarchus, Mark, Demas and Nympha. We need everyone who loves Jesus and is willing to serve the administrative and ministry needs of the church.
Father in Heaven, thank You for calling people to serve You here on earth. Thank You for Your church and for all the followers of Jesus who work together to share His love and message. Help me to serve you faithfully and to support others in their work, all done in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian