By Jimmie Z. Gribble
"And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." (Colossians 4:17). Paul, in this book, was writing to the church ("saints and faithful brethren") at Colosse. In this part of the last chapter Paul is giving some final salutations. One of these salutations is to Archippus. The church was to encourage this brother in his work for the Lord. There are several things we would like to notice from this passage. First, what a great thing it would be if the church would encourage each brother and sister in the work that God has given us to do. We make up the church, and therefore, should have no problem encouraging each to labor for the Lord. Yet, do we really take the time and effort to do so? Would we be stronger and more dedicated and diligent in our work if we encouraged each other more often? What do you think?
Second, the church was to encourage Archippus to "take heed" to his ministry. The words "take heed" means "to look to, direct the mind upon, consider" (1), and "to look, see, usually implying more especially an intent, earnest contemplation" (2) Archippus was to earnestly direct his mind to his ministry. He was to take seriously the work that he had to do. Now, what a great encouragement it would be to all of God's children, if the church would encourage each other to be put our mind on the work at hand. We all need to be reminded to "keep our eye on the ball." That is, keep our mind on the task at hand, and not wandering off to worldly things.
Third, the church was to encourage him, not only to keep his eye on his work, but also to "fulfill" it. This word means, "To fulfill, perform fully" (3), "satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task)," (4), "to carry through to the end, to accomplish" (5), "satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task)" (6), "to carry through to the end, to accomplish" (7). All of this indicates that what Archippus had begun he needed to complete.
Timothy also received, from Paul, the same encouragement that he is directing the church to give to Archippus. Paul wrote to Timothy, "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).
Beloved, we have a work to do and it would be great if we received words of encouragement to do the work. It would also be beneficial if we were to be encouragers to others to be faithful to their work and faithful to the completion of it. Why don't we try to learn and apply things from this (8)? Beloved, listen to all of God's word, God will do thee good!
(1) The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993.
(2) Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.
(3) The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament.
(4) Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek Hebrew Dictionary, 1994, 2003, Biblesoft, Inc.and International Bible Translators, Inc.
(5) Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database, 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft.
(6) Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek Hebrew Dictionary.
(7) Thayer's Greek Lexicon.
(8) Thought for Today.
- Jimmie Z. Gribble, Portsmouth, VA; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org