By Mike Chaffin
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Philemon vs 23-25
In the last words of this one-chapter letter from Paul to Philemon we see an important aspect to ministry, and life in Christ. Paul doesn’t go it alone. He isn’t an island. He knows the importance and strength of a ministry team.
Paul let’s the readers know who is helping him. They are part of his life and ministry. One of the reasons Paul was so successful is these people sustained Paul while in prison, supplied his needs, prayed with him, acted as mailmen, worshipped, suffered, journeyed, and ministered with him.
You can read the pain in Paul’s later letters when, near his time of execution, he tells Timothy almost everyone has left him. The wisdom of Solomon sums up what we learn reading these last words in Proverbs 27:17,
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
And in Ecclesiastes 4:12,
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
The Bible is clear that we need to journey in this life with friends and teammates who share the same vision, strive for the same goal. Loneliness is a condition that should never be said about us or felt by us. Even when we are physically alone we can have others holding us up in prayer so we can stay strong in the battle and live in victory.
As a Christian when that lonely feeling wraps around you like a heavy hand of sadness just know and remember, Jesus lives inside you and is there to carry you through.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for these insightful last words. Help me to cultivate friendships and helping hands in any work of ministry you have me do. I pray for those who you have ordained to come into my life to be a part of it. When I feel like no one is there help me to remember you are always there for me. In Jesus’s name, amen.