Thursday, March 07, 2013

Closet Ministry

Colossians 4:10-18 is mainly Paul's greeting and sharing about people in His life that the folk in Colossae knew, and what they have done to help him further the gospel. There are two items of interest I want to highlight. 

The first one is 4:12-13 where Paul talks about a man named Epaphras. "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always striving for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I testify about him, that he has worked hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for those in Herapolis." NHEB  Epaphras has proven himself to be a true servant of the Christian communities in three locations. He is a true intercessor. He is mentioned here, in the first chapter and at the close of Philippians. Some believe this is just a shortened form of Epaphroditus mentioned earlier in Philippians 2. 

It matters not. What does matter is that we seen this work is a "closet work," unless someone, in this case Paul, mentions the action. Paul sees this man's prayers for others as an enabling work for them. Oh that we would get this understanding in today's Body of Christ! He evidently was praying for entire Christian communities. His heart was big in Jesus, and he knew that his prayers made a difference in their development in Christ. 

When we see a lack in any Body of Believers, may we remember this man and join the Holy Spirit in prayer for their sufficiency in that area. We are so prone to criticize and find fault. If we see something that needs changing, let's begin to pray for them regarding that. People on their knees (figuratively if not otherwise) seldom cause problems with their mouths. Those who complain, usually have not prayed for those in question. May we begin to be as Epaphras in our prayers and be a part of the establishment of His Body. 

The other small passage is verse 17, "Tell Archippus, 'Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.'" Whatever the service (ministry) the Lord has given us, we need to hear this encouragement and directive. We need to be diligent in fulfilling what He has spoken - whether it is public or private in nature. Again, that matters not, but what does matter is our participation in the Body in His appointment and call. 

Then Paul ends this marvelous time of sharing with these people with, "The salutation of me, Paul with my own hand: remember my bonds. Grace be with you." May we remember in prayer all those who are imprisoned in our world for the Gospel's sake, and may we extend grace to all.

In another day or so, I will begin our study in 1 Peter. Join me then. Grace to all!

No comments: