“I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.” Colossians 4:18
It’s a new year. A new chapter for our stories. A renewed opportunity to be with and enjoy people. I recently studied the book of Colossians. At the end of the letter, the apostle Paul signs off by giving personal messages to multiple people he encountered throughout his ministry. Normally I blow by this part of a letter because I tend to think it doesn’t relate as much since the people are no longer alive. Not to mention the names are a tongue twister!
As I gathered information about the people Paul mentions, I realized his concluding thoughts reveal a ton of insight about relationships. Sister, digest these reminders.
People are a primary source of encouragement. Paul, who was imprisoned at the time, ends his letter by speaking of a beloved brother named Tychicus who is bringing word to the Colossians to encourage their hearts. Tychicus sacrificed time and personal comfort to bring a word of encouragement.
Be willing to learn from and serve those who are in positions of authority. Obviously, Tychicus has spent time with Paul who considered him teachable and reliable as a messenger.
Remember that it’s never too late for a person to change. Paul refers to Onesimus as a faithful and beloved brother. Upon researching, I found out that Onesimus served as a slave who stole from his Christian master and ran away. He became a believer through Paul’s preaching and began a new life.
Extend forgiveness when offended and help restore those who are genuinely willing to change. Paul mentions Mark as among those with him in Rome. In the book of Acts, Paul disagreed with Barnabas about Mark’s previous failure and parted ways with Barnabas. Paul’s gesture provides evidence the friendship was restored.
Seek out and appreciate those whose backgrounds are similar to yours. Paul shares the names of a couple of brothers in Christ who are from a Jewish upbringing as great encouragement because he is also a Jewish believer. Whether similarities in family dynamics, addiction, religious upbringing, or other connections, it’s important to know some people who can relate.
Ask God to give confidence to fellow believers of His will so that they may follow it fully. In verse 12, Paul explains that Epaphras is praying this request for them.
Don’t be surprised by disappointment. Paul sends greetings from a brother in Christ named Demas. Later in his ministry, Paul shared that Demas deserted him. Because of sin, there will be people in our lives who disappoint us. We will also disappoint ourselves and others. As a side note, I am really touched by Jordan’s story where she shares walking through a family member’s betrayal.
Look for people who can help you discover and use your gifts for the kingdom. At the end of his letter, Paul challenges Archippus to fulfill the ministry he has received. We need people to come alongside us and vice versa.
Express your needs. Upon closing his letter, Paul asks the Colossians to remember his imprisonment. We can’t expect people to read our minds so it’s necessary to let them know what’s important to us.
Sister, I’m eager to hear how these reminders make a difference in your relationships. Laura