I confess that the “Final Greetings” of Paul’s letters are not always the most stimulating reading for me. I don’t know the people, I don’t know the situations and it all feels totally disconnected from me. There are no clear ethical commands to follow, no calls to personal repentance, nothing really for me to do at all. So, these passages can be tough.
However, I have committed to put myself under the authority of Scripture, and to believe that this applies even to greetings. After all,
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17, NIV)
The weight and import of some passages may be bigger than others, but all of it is useful, and all of it must be taken seriously as the very Words of God.
So, take some time today to pray for the Spirit’s help in understanding and applying the closing section of Paul’s letter to the Colossians:
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 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. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
(Col. 4:7-18, NIV)