By Brooke Holt
“Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.” Colossians 4:7-14
If there was ever a superhero of the Christian faith (other than Jesus), it would certainly be the apostle Paul. Paul preached, planted churches, and even did ministry throughout his prison stays. Paul wrote more New Testament books than any other writer. He was a man on a mission—a mission focused upon and effective in building God’s kingdom.
Paul was a great evangelist, teacher, church planter, and writer, but he was also a man who needed Christian community and support. Throughout his letters, Paul commends those who have served and supported him through his many trials. Paul relied on people to encourage and support him in many ways—financially, emotionally, through prayer, and through friendship. As Paul wraps us his letter to the Colossians, he talks about his community: Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphras, and Luke. Notice how he commends each of these men; they each bring something unique to him and the community. Paul understood each person has a role to play in the Christian community, and he was eager to see people fulfill those roles and thus bless one another.
If the great apostle Paul needed community and then commended his community to the church of Colossae, shouldn’t all God’s people embrace this kind of Christian community? Do you follow this example of Paul and notice the gifts people bring to your church and small group? Do you readily receive their gifts, delight in them, and encourage them? You are called to receive as well as to contribute your unique gifts. How are you doing with that?
Far too often, we leave the ministry work to the church’s pastors and employees. That is not how God envisioned or designed the church. You have a role to play in the church in building up the people of God, while you also have a call to take the Gospel message into the world. Your community outside the church is your mission field—home, neighborhood, office, sports fields, etc. Every place you do life, you can also do ministry. And ministry is best done in a relationship. That was the model of Jesus and Paul. Is it the model for your life and ministry today?
What does your Christian community look like? How are you exercising your gifts within the community? How are you blessed by others using their gifts? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
Comments will be approved before showing up.