Final greetings and a warning
As Paul closes out his letter to the believers in Colossae, he has some specific instructions for the few people he knows in the area.
Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And tell Archippus, “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.” This greeting is in my own hand – Paul. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
Can you imagine what it would have been like to be Archippus?
Paul essentially calls him out before the entire congregation…and to whomever would eventually read the Colossian letter. The next time someone is introduced to Archippus, I could imagine the conversation going something like:
“Nice to meet you. Oh, you’re Archippus? Have you accomplished the ministry God gave you?”
I’m sure Archippus had some mixed emotions when he heard the letter read to the church – feeling some encouragement from Paul, but also feeling a little pressure, too.
However, that’s what good encouragers do. The help us see the correct path, and then they give us a nudge in that direction. But we have to be the ones to take the steps and do the ministry that God gives to each of us.
This blog doesn’t write itself. In order to continue the ministry that Joe started years ago and later handed off to me, I have several things that I must pay attention to. My own study of God’s Word, my work schedule, my family schedule, and all the other curve balls that life throws at us…all of them must be juggled intentionally in order for me to accomplish the task that God has given to me.
There are times when writing is more difficult than others. There have been times where I’m writing blogs weeks ahead of when they are posted…but there have been many more times when I’m writing late into Tuesday or Thursday night for something that will post the next morning. Sometimes the observations come easily, but other times I struggle to find the correct interpretation of a passage. However, knowing that God is allowing me to partner with Him in this way is a great motivator. The occasional note back from someone who can either relate to or apply what I write has also been encouraging.
Paul’s point is that we can’t accomplish the ministry God gives us unless we actively pay attention to it. We cannot be lazy in our efforts and expect God to pick up our slack. He paid the penalty for our sins because there was no alternative, no way for us to do it. However, if God hands us a ministry, then He knows we can accomplish it…with the right amount of effort.
Looking back through Paul’s letter to the Colossians, his main focus was to encourage them on to maturity. One of the best ways to demonstrate and develop our maturity as believers is to pay attention and take care of what God has given us to do.
What opportunities has God placed before you to minister to the people around you? Don’t compare your ministry to other people’s. Look at the lives around you, who can you reach? Are you paying enough attention so you can do what He has given you to do?
In order to accomplish our given task, we have to make hard choices about how we spend our time. We have all the time in the world to do whatever we think is most important. How important is the ministry we have received from the Lord? I encourage you to pay attention and go for it!