And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfil the ministry that you have received in the Lord”. (Colossians 4:17)
Archippus is only twice mentioned in the New Testament: here, and at the beginning of Paul’s letter to Philemon where he is called a “fellow soldier”. Based on these two references, many have constructed all sorts of theories as to who this person was, but in the end it is safest just to conclude that he works alongside Paul in the ministry of the Gospel.
What is interesting here, though, is the instruction the church is to pass on the Archippus: “see that you fulfil the ministry that you have received in the Lord”. The New Testament has enough examples of those who fall away from the faith to warn us that we mustn’t take our faith for granted. The parable of the sower reminds us that he cares of this world can choke our faith, and the problem is that these cares can grow so subtly that we don’t notice them.
This happens to those who minister, too. Clergy can lose their faith, and it is a dangerous to assume that just because someone received an ordination that they will remain in the faith.
At its heart the Christian faith is a relating to God, and like all relationships that takes time and attention. If you ignore a friend for long enough, you lose a friend. Whilst it is important to know about God, it is also important to know God. Prayer, worship and the reading of the Bible are the ways in which we feed this knowing God.
We don’t know if Archippus heeded Paul’s instructions or not, but we can make sure we take them heart. Fulfil your faith!