The Archippus Admonition
by Nancy Twigg
Counting the Cost
Colossians 4:17 has always been a curious verse to me. Paul has just finished his letter to the church in Colosse. Among the
greetings that are customary at the end of his letters, he throws in what almost appears to be an afterthought: "Tell
Archippus: 'See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.'"
The Bible doesn't tell us much about Archippus. The only other time he is mentioned is in the book of Philemon where Paul refers
to him as a fellow solider. I cannot help but wonder who he was and what kind of work he received from the Lord. And why did Paul
feel compelled to tell him to be sure to finish it?
Bear with me for a moment while I speculate. If Archippus had a special gifting from God, there were probably those around him
who did not understand that gifting or were jealous of his ministry. Maybe Paul felt it was important to remind him to hang
in there even if his faithfulness did not make him the most popular guy around.
Another possibility is that Paul knew Archippus had a special gift but was not using it to the fullest because of insecurities
or self-doubt. By writing this message in a letter to the whole church, Paul may have wanted to bolster Archippus' confidence by
publicly affirming his belief that Archippus was capable of living up to his calling.
Or maybe neither of these was true. Maybe Archippus was already doing very well in his ministry and Paul just wanted to encourage
him to press on to greater heights. As an evangelist with an active ministry himself, Paul probably knew how easy it was to
lose sight of the big picture.
We'll never know Paul's true motives or how Archippus reacted, but this brings me to a question: What is the work the Lord has
given you to do, and do you need a reminder to see it through to completion? Think about it for a minute. Do you ever feel
discouraged or doubtful? Do you ever get distracted from what you should be doing by all those other things you could be doing?
Some are called to public ministries while others minister daily in more private, less obvious ways. Maybe your work is to be a
good provider for your one-income family. Maybe your ministry is to be a Christian example in your workplace or neighborhood. Or
maybe as a single parent, your job is to raise your children as best you can.
Whatever your situation, Paul has a message for you today. Don't give up. Don't wander into self-doubt. Don't get distracted. This
spontaneous message to Archippus is just as applicable today as it was almost 2000 years ago. Whatever you are called to do, be
sure that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.
Nancy Twigg is a speaker and author who enjoys
encouraging and inspiring others to live simply. This article is an excerpt from her new book, A Month of Mites: 31 Devotionals on
Simple Christian Living (www.countingthecost.com/mites.htm)
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