1Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
7Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our[a] circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
10My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.”
18I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
I think it is interesting that he begins this chapter with a reminder to masters of slaves that just as they have authority on earth, God has authority over earthly masters in heaven. It seems to me to be another way of saying, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
The other striking element of this particular passage is the paragraph that talks about prayer. Colossians actually addresses prayer quite frequently for such a short book. He talks about being in prayer for others constantly, just as much as he asks others to pray for him. It reminds me of the importance of prayer as a cornerstone and foundation of the church and our relationships with others. This is a very convicting message for me personally because I know that I do not dwell in prayer as I should. More on that later.
I love that Paul always remembers the “mundane” stuff in his notes. I always find it interesting to see his little messages to others and I love to see who he is talking to. I am always encouraged by the women he talks to – Nympha who has a church in her home. How cool is it that she went out on a limb and hosted a church in her own home? That takes boldness!
I was also encouraged by Paul’s seemingly cryptic message to Archippus that he finish the work that God has given him. Isn’t that how it is for each of us now? God has a purpose for us and we should see to it that we complete it.