Paul is saying his farewell to this group of readers. He is also instructing them to share this letter with the brothers in Laodicea. He shares it with us too, thanks to the Holy Spirit preserving these words. He makes special mention of several who have helped him along the way.
We get to hear the “roll call” of those who are ministering to Paul at the time. There have been many over the years but this time several of them come from this particular body. Tychicus, Onesimus, and Epaphras all seem to have a connection to the Colossian body. Epaphras was the one who planted the body in the first place. Paul makes special note of these men and also sends them with detailed information on how the “battle” is going for Paul.
It would be interesting to sit down with them and hear the stories they had to tell. What miracles did they witness? I wonder if they had any funny stories to share. Did they bring back personal stories of conversions? Did they bring back stories of the other churches that were ministering to Paul? Did they compare themselves to the other churches? I would like to spend some time hearing their stories when we meet in Heaven.
In his closing Paul focused on the roles of the others. He stated how they had helped him but didn’t give great details. I’m sure some were more helpful than others but Paul praised them all the same. Jesus said that if you even give a person a cup of cold water in His name that you will be rewarded in the end. What kind of reward awaits these men?
I don’t believe they served to receive a reward. That was an added benefit. They served because they loved Jesus and loved Paul. They loved Paul because he loved Jesus and put his life on the line to bring the gospel to them.
Serving out of love should be our motivation too. We are to serve willingly and humbly. Our service should never be done so that someone else will notice you and praise you. Jesus said the Pharisees did this and that was the only reward they were going to get. When your heart is right the reward is waiting. This doesn’t mean that if someone sees you and comments on your service that you lose your reward, but if your only reason for serving is so you can be seen, you have no Heavenly reward due. You were “paid in full” by man.
I’m “preaching to the choir” here. I have to check my own attitude in my service, even to my husband. It feels good to have him say thank you. It also feels good when my mother in law commends me on how I care for him. But these “rewards” CANNOT be the reason I care for him. I do it because I love him and because I love Jesus. I know it is what Jesus wants me to do. Some days that last reason is the only thing that keeps me strong. Don’t get me wrong; I always love him but some days it’s harder to serve him in love because of how demanding the day is being. Yesterday was one of those days. (Today started that way too.) But God gave me some insight yesterday that made the day a little easier to take. I just have to keep reminding myself of that when I’m tempted to get frustrated again.
Father God, thank You for reminding me again tonight of what we shared yesterday. Keep that lesson in the front of my mind instead of only cropping up when we are spending time together. Thank You for the songs You gave me today; even the silly ones. They help me a LOT! Thank You for all the little ways that You allow me to care for others. Keep me serving for the right reasons. I’m looking forward to hearing some amazing stories when we finally meet. Maybe our bench time is my reward. I would be very happy with that!