November 25 – Who are the Significant People in Your Life?

Colossians 4: 7 – 18  (NLT)

“Tychicus will give you a full report about how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that’s happening here.

10 Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. 11 Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been!

12 Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. 13 I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

14 Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas. 15 Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

16 After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them.

17 And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”

18 Here is my greeting in my own handwriting – Paul

Remember my chains.

May God’s grace be with you.”

Who are the people who have made a big contribution to your life?  Many of you would likely start with your family members, and certainly those people have made a huge impact on you. But today, I want you to start thinking about people and friends outside your family who have really helped you in some way. 

Paul mentions some interesting people who he values. Onesimus was a slave who ran away and ended up in Rome where he met Paul. After becoming a believer, Onesimus wanted to make things right with his master, and that was why Paul wrote Philemon. 

“I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. 11 Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. 12 I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart.

13 I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf. 14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced. 15 It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. 16 He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me.”  (Philemon 1: 10 – 18  NLT)

He also mentions Mark. John Mark had accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey but left half way through. That eventually caused a split between Barnabas and Paul when Barnabas wanted to give Mark another chance. 

“Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39 Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care.”  (Acts 15: 37 – 40  NLT)

It looks like Mark has matured over the years and Paul has become more forgiving and patient. That relationship between Paul and Mark with a rocky start ended up helping both of them.

Luke was definitely someone who impacted Paul greatly.  He was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. He travelled with Paul and witnessed first-hand the beginning of the new church. He also likely helped Paul live with the medical condition that Paul referred to as a “thorn in the flesh”.  (2 Corinthians 12: 7)

When I look back over my life, I remember my Sunday School teacher when I was a young teenager – Mrs.  Grant. She was a quiet woman and a business woman who owned a jewelry store. We admired her so much because she dressed well and always looked good. But more importantly, she explained scripture to us in such an understandable way. Her interest in each of us in our class made us take our faith seriously. The next teacher when in my older teens was Art Stephenson, a chemical engineer with Dow Chemical.  He was so good at answering all our questions about Christianity. We were at that stage where we wondered if we had just been brought up with church stuff, and maybe it wasn’t that realistic. His calm and intelligent approach made it easy for us to say what we really thought and know he wouldn’t tell our parents, nor would he think any the less of us.

At university, Pastor Bill Steeper at Adelaide Baptist Church in London had been a full-time staff member with Intervarsity Press before he settled down as a lead pastor at the church.  So many university students went to his church, and he took a personal interest in each one of us. Again, it was a time of life when I questioned my faith, and having this pastor who found time to talk with me on various occasions made me think.

There are many more I could talk about, but now I want you to think about your life.  Make a list of the people who have really helped you in some way.  Thank God for the influence they brought in your life and pray for them. Maybe even write them a note and thank them. That could make their day.

Our song for today is More Than You’ll Ever Know by Watermark.

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