“Final Greetings.” It’s a phrase that sort of suggests Paul’s pretty much done writing the important stuff, huh? But the words at the end of Paul’s letter also contain helpful truth about the nature of Christ’s Church.
First, it points to the importance of visiting people in person. In the days before email or the postal service, Paul sent his letter with a messenger, Tychicus. But it wasn’t only to relay information. Tychicus’s personal presence with the people of Colossae was also meant to “encourage your hearts.” (Col. 4:8)
Second, all the names and implied circumstances signify the variety of stories God is writing throughout the world, and also the unity of all of them as part of one subversive movement. There Jews and Gentiles, prisoners and free people. There are the churches at Laodicea and Hierapolis, as well as the particular ministries of Nympha and Archippus. Each of them holds a piece of the puzzle, and none but God sees the whole picture.
Paul’s letter was intended for a variety of church communities with a unified purpose, thus also encouraging us: “You are not alone.” All of Jesus’ people, across town and across the globe, are being woven into God’s much larger story.
1. The Gospel is about people, not just abstract ideas. Who in your sphere of influence needs to hear the good news that the grace of God conquers the demands of the world? Can you graciously show that to someone this week?
2. In Jesus, the Word of God became flesh. The mode is crucial to the message. Sure, emails are okay. But there’s no substitute for personal contact. Whom is God urging you to be in direct contact with this week?