Close relationships are essential. We need those who are looking out for us and we need to be looking out for others.
Throughout the New Testament, the message that we need other people in our lives is brought up over and over. Our journey through life isn’t a solo endeavor and neither is our spiritual journey. Close relationships are essential. We need those who are looking out for us and we need to be looking out for others. Paul was connected to a lot of people and churches in this way. The church in Colossi had this too. Paul mentions several people by name that cared about this group of believers. One that really stands out to me is Epaphras. Listen to the words to the following verse as it conveys how much he cares for them. “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.”
Epaphras had their back! Everyone needs an Epaphras who is wrestling for us in prayer.
The annual Preaching and Teaching Convention at Ozark Christian College takes place each February. One of the reasons I look forward to this event is the opportunity to reconnect with people. This year was no different. Derek began his first ministry at First Christian Church in Norfolk, Nebraska when I was an associate minister there. He and his wife Amanda later helped start a church in North Dakota and are now at a church in Iowa. It was so good getting to see their smiling faces and talk about people we both know. When we worked side by side we prayed for each other daily. Even as miles separated us we’ve still continued to pray for each other.
Then there are my friends Mike and his wife Laurie. They stayed at our house this year while attending the convention. We had several late-night conversations that we didn’t want to end. Mike has been one of my best friends since college (and Laurie has been Yvonne’s). Mike’s been there for me countless times. During some of my most painful experiences and biggest struggles, Mike has had my back!
I’m thankful that the list of those who have my back includes names of people from Christ’s Church too. People I see weekly, if not daily. People who are helping me stand firm in the will of God and who encourage me toward maturity in Christ! People like those in our small group. People I get to serve with through the One Another Ministry. People I’ve connected with at Young at Heart.
The mission of Christ’s Church is preparing God’s people to discover completeness in Jesus. This doesn’t happen alone. Who is your Epaphras?