Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
Epaphras was mentioned in chapter 1:7-8[“As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.] The only other place he is mentioned is at the close of Philemon, and our verses today. These three mentions are enough to piece together quite a bit about this minister's life.
It is obvious that he was a gentile from Colossae, In our verses from Colossians 4 Paul puts the names mentioned into 2 categories, Those of the circumcision: Aristarchus, Onesimnus, Marcus, and Jesus who is called Justus. Then those who are gentile believers: Epaphras, Luke, and Demas. He is also said to be “one of you” and Chapter 1 states that they had learned from him. Not only was he from Colossae but it seems that he had been the one to start the church and lead it for a time, He is said to have taught them and was to them “a faithful minister of Christ.” We can tell by what is said about him that he not only had the position of Pastor at Colossae but the heart of a pastor as well, “Labouring fervently for you” and having “A great zeal for you.”
Although we don’t know when he was saved a safe assumption is that it was through Paul’s Ephesians ministry either directly or indirectly. Either way, it seems that He and Paul had had a previous relationship, either as a “Father in the faith” or a mentor and counselor. It is interesting to see the titles the Holy Ghost gives this pastor; he is called a servant and a faithful minister. This reminds us that the greatest among us shall be a servant. Servants serve and ministers administer. That is the duty of Pastors and ministers, and Epaphras was given the title because it was the office he was fulfilling. He had come and administered Christ to those people in Colossae, not through the Eucharist but through preaching to them and teaching them. The Church at Colossae not only had a man to listen to but a man to watch. They had learned of him, through his preaching but it seems that Epaphras was the sort of man that you could learn as much from what you saw him doing as from what you heard him saying. His zeal for his flock and his field is exemplary, “He hath a great zeal for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for them in Hierapolis.” His prayer life as well, “Always laboring fervently in prayer for you.”
God, help us to long for the flock you have called us to, to labor in prayer for them, not for foolish things like prosperity but that they can “stand perfect and complete in the will of God.” God help us to be faithful ministers of Christ to them, not administering what we deem best but what you deem best, not more of us but more of you. God give us a heart that longs for the fields that are ripe unto harvest, to long for the souls that are outside the 4 walls of our church. Lord may our lives be sermon’s preached on Sunday but lived out Monday through Saturday. Lord makes us “Faithful ministers of Christ” and “Fellow servants.”