We only truly believe when we surrender to what we have received. Colossians 4:17
We’re almost done with Colossians, but not before we unpack one of the most important lessons it has to teach us:

And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord” (Colossians 4:17).

Archippus is likely a pastor of the church at Colossae, something we can deduce from both the instruction here and the greeting of the companion letter to this one, Philemon: To Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house… (Philemon 2).

See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.

This one sentence could change the church, change the world, change our days. This one sentence could erase much of our sorrow, our depression, our angst.

For all too often, we are wasting our lives looking to do something else.

We are wasting our lives wanting to be someone else.

We are wasting our lives searching for how to be a better wife or mom or whatever else we are, when we’re not even practicing what we already know:

Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Make disciples. Deny yourself. 

See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.

Girls, it’s time to give up on Google and get to the work in front of us.

It’s time to give up on pining for a different life or love or look and to press into living out what we have.

It’s time to give up longing for better days and to fulfill the ministry we have received for this one.

If you’re looking for a purpose, look around. If you’re praying for a calling, God is not silent. He is answering loudly, day after day after day, with the people you meet and places you stand.

It is not for us to say that His answer is not good enough — not as sparkly or shiny as someone else’s — not the fairy tale we’d longed to hear. Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? (Isaiah 45:9).

Does the clay say to him who forms it, “You don’t know what you’re doing with my life?”

Changes will come for us — new days and new ways to serve and seek after God. They always do. But in my life, they have always come unexpectedly — hard right turns of opportunity and grace — blinding light from a door flung open by God I have only seen when I turned my strength from clawing at my walls and forced it to greet the path in front of me with joy.

If we can’t trust for today, we’re not ready to see tomorrow. We only truly believe when we surrender to what we have received.

If that feels impossible, good news: there’s something else you and I are going to need to accomplish this hard work — a secret hidden in the first words of this verse.

Paul has written this entire letter “to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” (Colossians 1:2) — to all the people of the church in this city. If Archippus is indeed their pastor, and he’s also the recipient of its sister letter, Philemon, there’s no chance he won’t read Paul’s words here personally.

But Paul talks around him, directly to the people under his care:

And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” 

I’m saying it here, Paul says, but you say it too, people of Colossae. Speak these words of life to him. Say them out loud and in person. To fulfill the ministry he has received, Archippus needs your voice of encouragement along the way.

To walk the way in which we have been called, we must surround ourselves with people who also believe, with people who have also struggled to surrender, with people who can carry us when we don’t think we can fulfill the ministry we have received for one more minute.

So I say to you, listen to wisdom. Don’t walk alone. Give up on the competitive ways of the world.

Turn your longings to prayers. Then, after your amen, get up and live the answer in front of you — the one you have heard for today.

If you want more joy, you have to plan for it.

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