I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:18
Two people will personally be delivering Paul’s letter to the Colossians -- Tychicus and Onesimus. These two men will soon set off for the long 1,200+ mile (yes…1,200+ MILES…with no car, train, or plane) journey from Rome to Colossae. Do you think they have any idea of the significance of what they were carrying? Did they take extra caution to protect it from the elements during the journey? Could they have even imagined the impact this little letter would have? And not just for the Colossians, but for the millions who have read it since and will read it in the future.
Paul closes with mention of more fellow workers, and a peek into the team performing a mighty work of God. Each with different skills and purposes. We need each other, friends.
Paul closes, “remember my chains.” How would you want to be remembered? For Paul, it wasn’t his conversion count, the churches he planted, or his beautifully written words. It was his chains. The length he would go to make the mystery of the gospel fully known. His joining of Christ in His suffering.
The letter complete. Rolled up tightly and handed to Tychicus and Onesimus. Packed safely in their satchel with provisions for the long trip to Colossae. Possibly a few tears. Covered in prayer, no doubt.
In this day of instant communication via a multitude of channels, it is hard to grasp how special these letters are. They can’t just FaceTime Paul with a question, or shoot a quick text to Luke asking him for advice, or post a message on Demas’s Facebook account to encourage him to stick with the ministry. It was a slow process of penning a letter, hand-delivering it hundreds -- even thousands -- of miles away, and then waiting for a word to travel back. I imagine it brought a savoring; a careful consideration and study of each and every word. Let us savor it with the same appreciation.
Questions: What seemingly hard or small or insignificant tasks are you currently engaged in? Could they possibly have an eternal significance that you just can’t see yet? How do you want to be remembered?