And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
The Last Man mentioned is only seen twice in the Scriptures, here, and in the opening lines of Philemon. It seems that Archippus is the man that Epaphras left to Pastor the church while he took his journey to minister to the Apostle Paul.
This small verse of Scripture teaches us a lot about Ministry. First of all, it teaches us that ministries are to be prized, “The Ministry thou hast received in the Lord.” He had not earned this ministry but had received this ministry. It is easy for us to begin to examine our own merits and begin to think ourselves worthy or capable of the ministry God has called us to and this verse along with many others checks us and reminds us that we have been “counted faithful” or “Made able ministers.” This is a reminder to all those who are allowed to minister for the Lord that this is a gift from God and should be treated as such and that He gives us the ministry and enables us to fulfill it. [1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;]
Something else this verse reminds us of is that ministries are to be protected, “Take heed to the Ministry.” A sweep over the book reveals Archippus had received a thriving fruitful ministry: Col 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, | Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth | Col 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. These verses and others like it show us that the church was healthy and thriving when Epaphras left it in the hands of Archippus and Paul, by the Holy Ghost, was reminding him that it was to be maintained. Taking heed means to be careful, to be on high alert and that is what a minister of the gospel must do. We must take heed of the ministry we have received in the Lord. It may be that today the church is thriving and growing numerically and spiritually but if we drop our guard it will only be a matter of time before the garden wall will fall and our ministry will be like the field of the slothful man whom Solomon warned us of. Ministers take heed and protect the ministry you have received.
Lastly, we are reminded that ministry must be performed, “That thou fulfill it.” Pastor, deacon, Sunday School teacher, or any other title a person may receive is more than just something to add to our list of accomplishments. It is an office that must be fulfilled. So many ministries are empty because there is no one fulfilling them, if you want a full ministry then fulfill it! There is study, there is prayer, there is care for the flock, and ministry is among the hardest jobs a man could do. Be sure that you are fulfilling your duties as a minister of the Lord. 1 Timothy 4 lays out what it takes to be a “Good minister of Jesus Christ.” Familiarize yourself with the Scripture and you will be “Perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
This is such a small verse but loaded with instruction, not only to Archippus but to all of God’s ministers it says “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.”