“Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
“Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), and… Justus. They have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans… And say to Archippus, ‘See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.’ I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” Colossians 4:7-18
Paul closes his letter to the church at Colossae by naming and describing several spiritual siblings, giving a look into meaningful and cherished relationships and what fruitful ministry involves. In our season of physical separation, God is still at work in the church, and has not given us a pass at caring for others in Jesus’s name.
Struggling in regular prayer, writing letters, serving needs, hard toiling, comforting, encouraging, communicating well- all these are components of healthy interaction and mutual support within the Body. Paul’s love for the church oozes out in his mention of individuals by name, expressing appreciation and special acknowledgement according to his knowledge of them, their work, and their needs. As a leader and role model he informs, encourages, upbuilds, and instructs. He is careful to commend, and deliberate to connect people. He is open about both his activities and his suffering. And he makes everyone feel special and valued.
How involved are we in the lives of those around us, in our church body? Do we focus mostly on our own responsibilities, or intentionally take time to get to know, include, check on, come alongside others? How well do we value the contribution of those who do things differently, or do different things, and how are we expressing appreciation and support? In what specific way will we, this week, ‘greet’ those the Lord brings to mind? How will we reach out, in friendship and brotherly love, with commendation, or cheer, or prayer, or simply communication?
Father, may my life be an open-armed greeting to all You bring to my door or to my heart. Determine my every word to encourage, console, and upbuild, for Your name’s sake. (1 Corinthians 14:3)