November 5 – Prison Letters – Feeling Insignificant?

Read Colossians 4:7-18

Chances are, you have been part of a conversation where other people are talking about their mutual friends that you have never met.  Your head probably turned politely in the direction of the person who was talking while your mind wandered to something much different.  In all likelihood, you rationalized to yourself, “I don’t know this person!  I will never meet this person.  It doesn’t really matter if I pay attention.”

I suppose those same kinds of thoughts may have passed through your mind as you read the final verses of Paul’s prison letter to Christ-followers in the city of Colosse.  The apostle wraps up the letter by mentioning no less than eight different people.  But, rather than hitting the mental snooze button, let’s grow to appreciate who these men were.

Tychicus was likely the messenger who carried the prison letters of Paul to their final destinations.  He was also one who gave verbal updates about Paul’s ministry to others.

Onesimus was a slave who had run away from his master in Colosse.  Landing in prison with Paul, Onesimus had come to Christ and was being sent back to reconcile with his master.

Aristarchus was a believer who hailed from Thessalonica.  He had traveled extensively with Paul and was there in prison with the apostle.

Mark was cousin to Barnabas.  Though he had initially accompanied Paul on the first missionary journey, he ended up deserting the mission.  Nevertheless, Paul came to consider him to be a valuable asset to what Christ was doing.

Justus was a Jewish believer who had greatly encouraged Paul and who wanted to greet these brothers and sisters in Christ.

Epaphras was a believer who originally shared the gospel with the Colossians.  Being imprisoned alongside the apostle, he had a deep prayerful concern for those from his hometown and surrounding area.

Luke was a physician . . . probably from Philippi.  He authored the gospel that bears his name and had frequently traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys.

Demas sent greetings to the Colossian believers.  Unfortunately, he would later abandon the mission in favor of the world.

Archippus was likely a church leader in Colosse.

So we can ignore these seemingly insignificant people and finish the book, or we can appreciate their contribution to the work of Christ . . . and realize that even our seemingly small contributions are worthwhile!

Steve Kern

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