In Colossians 4:17, Paul sends a message to a young man, Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it." That's a tremendous charge, worth a closer look.
Take heed– From the Greek, it means voluntarily giving careful attention to. Paul's tone is one of encouragement.
Ministry– This is the word deacon comes from and carries an idea of waiting tables. We tend to think "ministry" is only for preachers or other big-shot Christians, but any of us can serve others and attend to their needs.
Received– This one means to "to take near". On a recent trip to a theme park, I received some money for one of the kids. (His parents were afraid he might lose it.) I kept it close to me in a pocket, protecting it, acting as a steward for the money, parceling it out as the boy had need of it.
Fulfill– This is an interesting word and several of the usages carry the idea of filling in what's empty, whether it's a hole or a net or an empty house. Don't leave anything out or undone.
To paraphrase- When you accepted Christ, you agreed to serve Him as needed. Don't you see what a tremendous role you've been entrusted with? Run with it!
Sometimes, in our way of thinking, being a servant is not such a great draw. But if someone we love asks for a favor, we deliver without hesitation. Maybe that was the issue for Archippus. We know from the letter to Philemon, that he was the son of a comfortably wealthy man. Maybe the transition from having servants to being a servant was a little difficult.
Paul said back in chapter 3: "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." Ultimately, all our service is to Christ, not the individuals who receive the immediate benefits.
What is your ministry? Are you fulfilling it?
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