The seed of faithfulness
… In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world…
Colossians 1:6 (NIV)
As Christians, living in the busy modern world, we may not think we have much impact when it comes to sharing the gospel. But I think it is also fair to say that many of us may never know in our own lifetimes how big a part we have played in making disciples.
We can be encouraged by the inspiring story, tucked away in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, of one man’s faithfulness and the great fruit it bore. His name was Epaphras and he is only mentioned three times in the New Testament, twice here in Colossians and once in Philemon.
In Colossians chapter 1, we learn that ‘God’s holy people in Colossae’ (v.2), first heard the gospel from Epaphras. So it seems that this one man, a ‘dear fellow servant’ and ‘faithful minister’(v.7) who ‘wrestled in prayer’ for the Colossians (Colossians 4:12), and spent time in prison with Paul in Rome (Philemon v.23), was single-handedly responsible for the existence of the Colossian church. Further, he was part of a wider team of people who Paul credited with the gospel’s growth ‘throughout the whole world’ (Colossians 1:6).
When we participate in God’s work of making disciples, it often starts small, but then the growth is bigger than we ever thought possible. Epaphras will not know how big a part he played until he is resurrected and perhaps neither will we. He started simply by praying and sharing the gospel.
And so can we.
Heavenly Father, help us to discover the gift within us for sharing the gospel message as Epaphras did, knowing that it is your power that brings salvation to everyone who believes. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Peter Mill
About the writer:
Peter Mill is a Minister in Grace Communion International and Regional Pastor for Scotland, Ireland and Northern England
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