Graham and Julie have produced this week’s notes and our passage today is Colossians 4:7-14.
Here we see another side to Paul (in prison) caring & sharing with his team. Once the chief persecutor of those following “The way” he has now built a number of key individuals (Only 3 fellow Jews were with Paul) whose work is to proclaim Jesus & look after each others needs. Paul has built some really important “Platinum” relationships which can only be built up by investing quality time with those you want to draw especially close to. It is a real privilege when you have a close friendship with a trusted friend who you can share everything with; both the Joys & the failures we can suffer & be held accountable in complete confidence & trust. Such meaningful relationships are relatively few, but those deep relationships we do have are worth holding onto & investing our time & effort & not letting anything get in the way or giving Satan a foothold to spoil & break up. It is also great to share & update others how our walk with Jesus is going, to encourage them & know that the Holy Spirit is actively making Jesus known through people like Paul & us! Also it is encouraging to see the restoration of Mark (cousin of Barnabas) who had previously left a mission trip & been the source of a sharp dispute between Paul & Barnabas which resulted in them separating & following different paths for a time. Once again we see the importance of Epaphras “wrestling in prayer” for the Colossians. We also see here that Luke was a Doctor the only time in scripture we pick up his profession.
Could I write such a letter? Do I have enough close relationships that I could pass on intimate thoughts of thanksgiving for the sacrifices they had made for the sake of the Gospel to build up & encourage others? Do I have friends that have stood by me to encourage me in times of difficulty, tragedy, persecution, loss, fears & doubts, that I could write an encouraging letter to for their encouragement? Friends that have celebrated good “life” events with me; where we have shared laughter & tears of joy? Do we have anyone that would stand with us no matter what? Recently in particular my wife has convicted me to engage with our missionary friends via e-mail. It is great to get news from people serving in difficult places & circumstances, it is a privilege to give financial support, but sometimes all they are crying out for is an acknowledgement & some news from receivers of their letter to encourage their faith walk & that they are not out of sight out of mind.
Lord lead & guide me into close relationships that can become deep, meaningful & trustworthy with Jesus being at the centre of all that is shared. Help us to wrestle in prayer & devote ourselves to prayer, for those going through tough & challenging times so we can stand firm in ALL the will of God. Amen.