May. 17, 2017

Forgive and Fulfill - Part 2

Continuing from the previous post, for this portion we will take a look at Archippus. In Colossians we learn that he was a minister. In the Philemon letter Paul refers to him as a fellow soldier.

Colossians 4:17

Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”

The specific reason for Paul's admonition to Archippus is not revealed here. But it can be determined from this narrative that it is imperative that each of us fulfill and complete what we have been called to do. To fulfill is to 'fill fully'. To complete is to finish. We are to do the most that we are directed to do and to keep doing it until our mission is finished. We are to give our all and maintian the momentum with which the Holy Spirit prompts and enables us to operate. It is impossible to fulfill and complete the ministry received of the Lord through fleshly or human means. Only through the guidance of His Spirit can a person know what needs to be done and in what manner it is to be accomplished. The Lord, through His Spirit enables or gives the ability to follow His instructions.

When our service is completed it should have the fullness of a balloon that is filled to capacity. It shouldn't be deflated and limp, unable to fly. When a person's ministry in this life is over and they let go of the balloon, it should be light enough and full enough to soar on the wind of the Spirit of God.

It is important to note that the end of a particular individual's earthly ministry does not mean that the total task is complete. Similar to a relay race, each person has their part to do. If we have been paying attention, God will have sent the next runner into our midst before our stint is over. We have the responsibility of recognizing that person's calling and helping to nurture their gifts. We are to encourage and help prepare them for the next phase of their ministry. In the Old Testament Moses prepared Joshua and Elijah prepared Elisha. In the New Testament Jesus prepared the apostles and Paul instructed Timothy and many others. Part of ministry is educating those who will come after you so the work of the Lord continues to flourish.

The verses below from Luke 9 share information from Jesus. We see here that there should be a deep dedication to ministry.

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Looking again at Archippus, we don't know what issue had crept up in his life. He may have become lax or slothful in ministry. He may have become discouraged because he wasn't a big name preacher like Paul. He could have become lukewarm because he wasn't hosting a thriving in-home ministry like Philemon. We don't know for certain what was happening in the mind and spirit of Archippus. But whatever it was it was no excuse to do less than his best. The Bible teaches that we are to maintain godly strength, force and direction in ministry and in life. It is the only way to flow with the Spirit of God and complete the assignments delegated to each one of us.