As the Apostle Paul was closing out his letter to the Colossians, he said this:
“And say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.’” (Colossians 4:17)
Archippus was a man that Paul referred to as a “fellow soldier” in Philemon 1:2. He was most likely a member of Philemon’s household.
I was reading this a couple of days ago and instead of glossing over the last words in the letter, as we often have the habit of doing, this message to Archippus jumped off the page at me. This is more than a message to a man who lived somewhere around A.D. 65.
This is a message to all Christians throughout time.
“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
The word “ministry” is the Greek word “diakonia”. Quite simply put it means “an opportunity to serve.”
The truth is that every Christian is a minister. We are told this by the Holy Spirit through Paul:
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…” (2 Corinthians 5:18)
As I look at Colossians 4:17 there seems to be a sequence that, should we follow it through, will lead to the result God desires to see.
Paul speaks here acknowledging that prior to his writing the sentence, God has presented a ministry to Archippus. Paul tells him to “take heed” of this ministry given to him by God. The Greek word translated to “take heed” is “blepo.” It means “to look at, to behold, to beware, to perceive.”
The Lord is telling us today to take the time to perceive….to consider… just what it is He would have us to do. Indeed, we MUST seek His thoughts on this or we will just be doing another thing we want to do. It will just be flesh and this will not lead to life (Romans 8:6)
God has given each of us Christians a ministry. When He did that we either received it or we did not. Tragically, many Christians never receive their ministry. They waste this gift the Lord has given us to partner with Him in building His Kingdom.
Have you received the ministry God has given you? Have you taken “ownership” of it, so to speak (bearing in mind that in Christ everything we have is really His anyway?)
The real question, I suppose, is: “Have you so esteemed what He has presented to you as the ministry He has to work through you that you cherish it and actively put it into action in your life?”
If so, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
My conclusion, having prayed about and meditated on this verse for several days, is that if we receive the ministry God has presented to us and take heed of it…are aware of it all the time and value this opportunity….we WILL fulfill it.
The word “fulfill” in that verse means “to cram full”. To me it means that should I take heed of the ministry that I have received in the Lord, I will completely satisfy God’s intentions for that ministry through me.
It is my passionate desire to accomplish that in the ministry He has presented to me.
I hope what I have written here will fuel your passion to do the same.