Approximately 79 percent of those who start a marathon finish it, which is quite remarkable. Generally speaking, it requires six months to prepare to run.
Archippus was probably the son of Philemon (Philem 2) and was ministering in Colossae because the pastor, Epaphras, was in Rome caring for Paul. Paul called Philemon his “dear friend and fellow worker” (Philemon 1) and “Archippus our fellow soldier” (Philemon 2)
Paul commands the readers to “urgently tell” (aorist imperative) Archippus that he should “be continually seeing to it” (present imperative) that he “complete the ministry” (“to make full, total or complete”). We are not told why Archippus needed this encouragement. However, many who start well encounter discouragement, isolation, failures, conflicts, disillusionments, and inadequacies, which can quench the desire for ministry.
Paul called Archippus a “fellow–soldier,” so there must have been many difficulties and discouragements. Similarly, Paul wrote in his final charge to Timothy, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelists, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5). The word for ministry is the same in both verses, which refers not to the office of a deacon but to the nature of the ministry. Paul’s words to Timothy about fulfilling his ministry meant he should keep on evangelizing and “herald [or preach] the Word, being on hand in season, out of season,” and he must “reprove, rebuke, admonish with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2).
Likely, Archippus was a young preacher, an interim shepherd in Epaphras’s absence, and was struggling to secure the church’s cooperation. The apostle tactfully orders the congregation to keep on encouraging Archippus and assuring him they would help him in every way to complete his leadership responsibilities. Every leader needs this kind of encouragement.
Just as it was written of the elders of Ephesus that “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers” (Acts 20:28), so Paul described Archippus’s ministry as one “received in the Lord.” God engineers our desire for ministry and the opportunity to begin, but we have to depend on His grace to “keep on keeping on” until His purpose for our lives is fulfilled. Be an encouragement to someone today.
“It is so easy to become discouraged in our ministry, Lord. May I encourage all Your servants.”