vs. 7 “As you also learned from Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf.”
Have you ever heard of Epaphras? He was the pastor of the church at Colosse. We are not told the size of his congregation, the number of satellite locations he has, or the attendance in his youth group. We do not know if he had a cell group program or a traditional Sunday School. This is what churches are known for in our day. We are only told one thing, he was faithful. His name was not known well in the ancient world. If Paul would not have mentioned him, we probably would never have heard of him. It didn’t seem to matter to Epaphras, he remained faithful.
One Step At A Time
A faithful person is a plodder. A plodder keeps moving each day, driven by the Word of God and the personal integrity in their heart. We are told we will reap in due season if we don’t faint. A plodder is one who will not faint. He never has and never will give up. Unlike many others, he does not gain great amounts of ground at one time. Yet, when others have given up, thrown in the towel, the plodder is still going.
When I attended Bible School I was one of 35 students who graduated. I was the only one who did not have a ministry position to fill. All 34 of the other students had sent out resumes and were accepted into pastorates and missions organizations, or their itineraries were already full to speak at churches. I continued to work at my job, study the Word, and teach my class at church. During the next ten years, my life changed drastically with God increasing my call. I ended up as a teacher and finally the dean of instructors at Rhema Bible Training Center. I was also prepared in my heart for the call to pastor. God had already spoken to me. I went back for our ten-year reunion at the Bible School I had attended and was surprised to find less than ten graduates were still in the ministry. So many excited students had left for the work of God, but most had dropped out of the race.
Finishing Is More Important Than Starting
Many begin a race. Beginning is the easy part. Finishing is difficult. Many who begin with a flash will never make it. They bask in the limelight of popularity, but when the popularity diminishes, so does their stamina. The plodder draws from the wells of inspiration he has in his own heart. He has developed a personal relationship with God and will continue whether anyone stands with him or not. He knows that God will never leave or forsake him.
Examples of Plodders
It is said that at the time Billy Graham first entered the ministry, he was one of four who were well known. He was also considered the least likely to succeed because he was not as fiery of a speaker as some, and not as handsome and charismatic as others. Yet, Billy Graham outlasted them all. He built his ministry on character, not Bible knowledge, anointing, or spiritual gifts. It is not that all of those characteristics are not important, they are just not as important as faithfulness. Another word for a faithful minister is a plodder.
By the time Paul wrote 2nd Timothy, he mentioned that all who began with him had forsaken him at his first trial (2 Timothy 4:16). By the time his death sentence was given, only Timothy and Luke were with him. In prison, waiting to be executed, he asked Timothy to bring the scrolls and parchments of the Word (2 Timothy 4:13). Plodders may be hurt by those who leave their side in the ministry, but they draw their strength to continue from the everlasting Word of God.
Even Jesus saw all of his disciples forsake him during his trial. Only John returned and stood by him at the cross.
The important thing is not who starts, but who finishes. Finishing is much more difficult. That is why many are at the starting line, but only a few cross the finish line. God is not so interested in how many begin with Him. He is more interested in how many finish. This is reserved for the plodder. Remember, the one who won the race was the tortoise, not the hare. Your due season is coming, don’t give up!