Daily Devotional Colossians 4:7–18
Have you ever been in a workplace where everyone got along perfectly all the time? What about a family? Or a sports team? Living in community with harmony does not come automatically. It’s a learned skill. That’s true in the Christian life. It is no accident that God designed the church to function as a body (see Col. 3:15).
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:26
As he closes this letter, Paul sends personal greetings to several people in the Colossian church. He also mentions members of his ministry team. Tychicus and Onesimus probably brought this letter to Colosse (vv. 7–9). Onesimus is an individual we will learn about in the next two days since he is the subject of Paul’s letter to Philemon.
Paul also mentions names that we may recognize from other letters. The apostle conveys the greetings of Aristarchus alongside those of Mark and Barnabas. During Paul’s first missionary journey, he and Barnabas had a falling out because of Mark (Acts 15:36–40). By the time this letter was written, they had reconciled (2 Tim. 4:11). In verse 14 Paul writes, “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.” We know Luke as the author of the third Gospel and the book of Acts. Demas, however, had a scandalous reputation.
Several years after Colossians was written, love for this world motivated Demas to desert Paul (2 Tim. 4:10). Archippus, mentioned in verse 17, will also show up in Paul’s letter to Philemon. Here the tone seems to be one of reproof. “Complete the ministry,” Paul says, implying that Paul fears he might not. Paul clearly realized that not all members of the church would get along all the time. Even so, he urges believers toward the unity we have in Christ.
>> Christian living is a team sport. Not everyone on the team plays well. Nor do they always play well together. No matter how much we do for Jesus, we never outgrow our need for grace, patience, and forgiveness.
Pray with Us
Conflict often defies our efforts to be unified. Lord, for ourselves and those we clash with, we ask for humility, patience, and eyes to recognize truth and justice. By Your grace lead us to resolution and reconciliation.