“And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” (Colossians 4:17, ESV)

Reading the Bible is an adventure. I meet new people, discover new places, and learn new lessons. Sometimes I only receive a hint of a story, and that makes me curious. That’s what happened when I came across the name Archippus during my study time.

Who was Archippus? He is mentioned only twice in Paul’s writings, once in Colossians and once in Philemon. Most scholars assume he is the son of Philemon and Apphia. What we do know is: (1) he was a “fellow soldier” or fellow worker in the gospel, and (2) he had a calling upon his life from God. Since I’m convinced nothing is in the Bible by accident, there may be a lesson we can learn from him.


At the conclusion of Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, he adds, almost as a postscript, a message for Archippus. Paul instructs him to “fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” Why did Paul add this personal message at the very end of the letter? Was Archippus discouraged, feeling insecure in his calling, distracted, or growing careless? We don’t know what was happening in his life. We do know that Paul sent this message in love and concern.

As I was growing up and trying to find my path in life, I had some special heroes. These were wonderful women of God whom I saw working in special ways for His kingdom. I admired them and wanted to be just like them. In my youth and immaturity, I may have even envied them because I was convinced God could never use me like they were being used. What it took a long time for me to understand was God did not want me to be an exact copy of those amazing women. He wanted me to be the best possible me by using the talents and abilities He had placed in my life. God wanted an original, not a copy.

Maybe this is something Archippus needed to learn as well. Perhaps Paul was telling him to fulfill the ministry HE had received from God. God didn’t call him to be another Paul or Timothy or Philemon. He wanted him to be the best Archippus possible as he fulfilled God’s call. God wanted an original, not a copy.


What about you? What calling has God placed upon your life? Yes, everyone—absolutely everyone—has a place of ministry in the body of Christ. Not all ministry happens at the pulpit. Ministry happens at home, on the job, and around the neighborhood. Ministry is an integral part of everyday living.

God may have called you to be an encourager, an administrator, a prayer warrior, or a children’s ministry worker. He may have gifted you with organizational skills, artistic talent, or the ability to cook for a crowd. Perhaps your biggest calling is to plant God’s Word in the hearts of your children and equip them to become faithful disciples of the Lord.

God never wants a copycat. That’s why He made you uniquely you and me uniquely me. He wants an original.

Lord, help me to recognize my unique calling. You have given me special abilities that will help me fulfill that call upon my life. Thank You for giving me my own special place in the body to work for You.


Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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