Pals need one another
Right at the end of his letter to the people of Colossae Paul gives us a glimpse of his support network. Paul conveys the greetings of his friends: Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus (also called Justus), Epaphras, Luke, Demas and naturally Tychicus and Onesimus who we got to know in the previous two devotions.
Once again, I realise that we simply cannot walk this road through the world alone. You need a group of friends who can hold your hand. Certainly, there were times when things didn’t go well with Paul. Maybe he felt doubtful or discouraged about the circumstances in which he found himself. Maybe the soldiers hitting him sometimes became too much for him. In these hard times his friends (probably Aristarchus, because he was in prison with Paul) helped him to get through it. If he didn’t have a support network, chances are he might have given up.
Paul used these words to describe his friends: working hard for the Lord, reliable, encouraging others, dependable, loyal, persistent, witness for God, and even lifesavers, because hundreds of people’s lives were saved when they heard God’s message of salvation for the first time. Wow, it really was a close group of friends with wonderful talents who kept Paul standing.
It is always difficult to single out one person, because chances are the others will then not get the recognition they deserve. However, Epaphras deserves special mention. About him, Paul said the following: 12Epaphras, who is one of you, says hello. What a trooper he has been! He’s been tireless in his prayers for you, praying that you’ll stand firm, mature and confident in everything God wants you to do. 13I’ve watched him closely, and can report on how hard he has worked for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
An excellent example of a man of God. I want to be like that. I want to be a prayer soldier with a passion to pray tirelessly for others. I want to invest all my energy in Jesus’ world. I want to pray for my friends to stay on track, especially when it becomes more difficult to do so.
I more and more realise that we cannot remain standing in this world when we are alone. On our own we are too weak. The economy will depress us, the political circumstances and leaders without direction will drive us up the wall, and again and again we will fall for the temptations on screen and wherever – if we try to make it on our own.
We all need a support network. And naturally we should form part of someone else’s support network. We must support one another. We must pray for one another. We must invest our energy in one another, because God has given us to one another.
Let’s follow the example set by Paul and his pals. Let’s invest in friendships, because in that way we can help one another to walk upright through life. In this way we can encourage one another if we should trip and fall.
Who is part of your support network?
Of whose support network do you form a part?
Do you put enough energy into it?
Lord, it’s so simple, but still so important that we should be part of support networks. More and more I realise that we cannot do it on our own. Please help me to choose the right friends so that together we can be a power in your world. Amen.