Friday, June 14, 2013

Don't quit!

At the end of Ephesians, Paul mentions several people by name. I found it quite interesting to trace those names through the New Testament. Those names give the idea that Paul was not the lone ranger/super apostle that we might have expected. He had many friends and fellow ministers who assisted him on his journeys and while he was in prison. This teamwork is a good pattern for our current ministry endeavors. But there are also other names that have a different story. Take for instance, Archippus whom Paul mentions only twice.

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house.
Philemon 1-2

And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
Colossians 4:17

There is not much information provided about him, but Paul does describe Archippus as a fellow Christian soldier who was involved in the spiritual battle mentioned in Ephesians 6:10-18. It is always good to have others fighting alongside you in the battle. Archippus may also have been Philemon's son. You get that idea from the way Paul uses his name in his greeting to Philemon, Apphia (probably his wife), Archippus (probably his son), and to the church in his house.

While we may not remember much else about Archippus, Paul's mention of him at the end of the letter to the Colossians, reverberates with every person who has been a part of a Christian ministry. Archippus needed the encouragement to continue the ministry he had been given by the Lord. Notice two thoughts in Paul's admonition. Not only did he encourage Archippus to continue ministering, he also pointed him to the one who gave him his ministry. There are times when you just want to quit. Ministering to people is not always easy. And adding the spiritual battle to the mix doesn't make things any easier. But knowing that God had given you a particular ministry certainly helps. Think of those who were discouraged throughout the Scriptures. What was it that helped them to continue? It was a confirmation from God that he was with them in their ministry (see Acts 18:9-11).

Are you discouraged today? Are you thinking of quitting the ministry? Before you do, think of others who have faced that same difficulty before. You are not alone. But remember this as well. God has given you a specific ministry and will give you the strength to carry it through to completion. So don't give up! God is with you and will provide for your needs as you continue the ministry he has given you.

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