"and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis." - Colossians 4:11-13 ESV
Two more men.
Justus was also Jewish and he was a comfort to Paul. Just writing that detail about comfort is an interesting thing. He changed his name and we can imagine why he did. It was likely in part to avoid confusion. It says a little about what kind of man he was.
Then there was Epaphras. He sounds like the missions director on the team. He was a man with a vision for places and people. This man did what people do in modern missions offices. He had no telephone or modern devices to work with so imagine doing what needed to be done to reach places and keep the lines of communications open without those devices.
It makes you wonder if this letter was written in part because of these men. Epaphras kept praying for and talking about these places and people. Paul was an influencer but he was also influenced by those around him. Seeing this man's zeal likely had an effect on him.
In order to be comforted a person must be available to be influenced by others. They must be available to interact with the ministry of other people.
Have you met people who can't be comforted or influenced? Maybe the window for that to happen is just very small and infrequent.
The writer of this book had communion with God and fellowship with people. It is a beautiful balance. Can I have a ministry if I don't interact with the ministry of those around me? I'm not talking about jumping into what everyone else is doing with both feet. That isn't wise. I see the writer having healthy interactions and appreciations. He isn't self-centered. He is God-centered and team sensitive.
God help us to have a healthy interaction structure with people. We want to be available to the ministry of other people even as we minister and You must regulate that balance in our lives. Open our eyes. Give us ears to hear and make us slow to speak. We want to see what you see so that we can be comforted by what you are doing in other people's lives. Thank You God. Give us divine appointments with people this weekend. We trust that you will. Help us to be people who put tracts in our pocket before we leave for work so we are ready and expecting to have opportunities to give them out.