“Tell Archippus: ‘See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord’.”
Colossians 4:17, NIV
There are many interesting spiritual lessons in the little greetings that Paul includes at the end of his letters. Here is one. He is adding a personal message for an individual, who is described in Paul’s letter to Philemon as a fellow-soldier.
We have no idea why Paul felt this personal message was necessary, but the most likely thing is that Archippus was a person who was good at starting things, but not so good at carrying them through to completion. If that’s the case, then he is typical of many people, even in the body of Christ, who get really excited about something new, but show little enthusiasm for persevering with what’s already on the go!
It’s exciting when God calls us into something, but it’s not so exciting when we discover that there is a considerable amount of work to be done in order to realise the potential God has opened up for us. The fruit of our calling does not appear out of the sky, delivered by an angel, like a bit of Hollywood magic! It has to be worked for through loving obedience to the One who called us into His service.
I love reading the biographies of those who did persevere in missionary service. Recently I read about Charles Cowman who founded the Oriental Missionary Society; and Wilfred Grenfell who transformed the spiritual environment of Labrador as a missionary doctor. Get hold of their stories and read them and be amazed at how much they achieved through perseverance. Our instant-fix society doesn’t like the idea of 40 years of service – that’s what it took Wilfred Grenfell to fulfil his destiny. But it’s through determined perseverance that the Kingdom of God is built.
If Paul was writing a letter to you – what would he say? Would he have a message for you like he had for Archippus?
Prayer: Lord, help me to persevere with the things that you ask me to do. I don’t want my life to be marked by many new starts but with nothing ever finished. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.