And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” Colossians 4:17 (NKJV)
This is an obscure verse at the end of the book of Colossians, usually glossed over or totally missed. In the same way that Paul singled Archippus out, God is turning His attention to the Archippuses in our congregations. The message is plain and simple: The times are urgent and there is work to be done. We have each received an assignment in the Lord but are we faithful to fulfil it?
Other than what is revealed in Col 4:17, and another mention in Philemon 2, little is known about Archippus and his ministry. That said, four possible scenarios can be considered:
- Archippus knew his ministry, was faithful, but needed encouragement to keep going.
- Archippus knew his ministry, was faithful once, but had slackened or stopped.
- Archippus knew his ministry, but did nothing about it.
- Archippus did not know his ministry, and had to be prompted by Paul.
All Christians fall into one of the above four scenarios. The question for Archippuses in our time is, “Which scenario applies to you?”
Four characteristics of one who is an Archippus:
ALMOST ANONYMOUS. The beautiful thing about Archippus is that he is mentioned only twice in the entire bible. He is almost anonymous and yet mentioned by name! The days of spiritual superstars and celebrities are over. This is the season for ‘nameless’ saints to arise and to take up their positions in the Kingdom.
AWARE & NOT APATHETIC. Archippuses understand the urgency of the times we live in. They are fully aware of the bigger picture and the happenings in and around the Body of Christ around the world. To this end, they do not remain apathetic, distanced nor self-absorbed. It is this awareness that compels them to act with certainty, fully convinced that their assignments will contribute to the greater agenda of the kingdom of God.
NOT ACTIVITY BUT ASSIGNMENT. It is totally pointless to be busy with ten things but miss the one thing that God has called you to. Archippuses know how to discern and distinguish between activity and assignment, understanding that busyness does not necessarily lead to fruitfulness.
ANYTHING BUT AIMLESS. When Archippus is clear of his assignment, he begins to channel his energies and resources purposefully. He is awakened to a much bigger picture of what Kingdom living and significance is all about. His aim is to be faithful to fulfil his assignment that he may be found pleasing to his Lord and Master.