Paul and Epaphras

Faithful in All Things

Paul wrote, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Imprisoned in Rome, Paul was no longer able to preach the gospel in synagogues or establish new churches. But he was still faithful in bringing glory to God in whatever way he could, even if he only had an audience of one.

Epaphras and the apostle Paul may have first become acquainted in Rome. Either Epaphras visited Paul there or he was imprisoned with Paul there (Philemon 23). Paul described Epaphras as a “dear fellow servant” and a “faithful minister of Christ” (Colossians 1:7).

Paul listened to Epaphras relate his concerns about the people in Colossian church, people Paul had never met (2:1). He began to pray for these people. Colossians 1:9 records that Paul prayed for them earnestly, specifically, and regularly: “since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.” Then the Holy Spirit prompted him to write the Colossians a letter.

Listening and letter writing may seem like inconsequential activities. Even praying—especially for people I don’t know—sometimes seems unimportant to me. And yet when I read the book of Colossians, I’m reminded of how God can use “little” things to glorify His name.

God provided many opportunities for Paul to do “big” things as a pioneer missionary. And Paul faithfully did them. But he also diligently obeyed the Lord in what may have appeared insignificant.

Most of us long to do something “big” for God, but mostly God longs for us to be faithful in doing the “little” things. Every day God gives me opportunities to listen to someone and to pray for someone. Usually He also brings someone to mind that would appreciate a handwritten letter or postcard.

May I be as aware as Paul was of the value of listening to a friend, praying for a stranger, and encouraging anyone God places on my path.

DIG DEEPER:

Read Colossians 1:9-14. What did Paul ask God to do for the Colossians? When you pray for others, what do you ask God to do for them?

Read Galatians 6:2. How did Paul help Epaphras carry his burden for the Colossian church? How did Epaphras carry the burdens of his fellow church members? (see also Colossians 4:12-13). How can you help someone carry their burden today?

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. What “little” things does Paul include in this list of Christian responsibilities? How does he emphasize the importance of these actions in verse 18-19?

For more about Paul, read Saul of Tarsus in Dig into People.

Denise K. Loock

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