A comfort unto me
These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. Colossians 4:11
This description of Paul's fellow laborers is striking: they were a comfort to him. We too should want to be a comfort to others (and not a thorn in their sides!). This made me think about the things that made them a comfort to Paul. What were they?
Well, for one thing, they were co-laborers with him in the gospel. They stood with Paul in the most important work to which God can call us. Paul's whole soul and heart were devoted to making Christ known; this was the most precious thing to him, and they participated with him in that glorious work.
But I think what made them stand out was that they were also faithful: Tychicus "a beloved brother and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord," Onesimus "a faithful and beloved brother," and Aristarchus, "my fellowprisoner" (4:7-10), men who stood with Paul and by Paul through thick and thin. They were men who could be depended upon. Paul had been disappointed by many people, both inside and outside the church (Demas, who was still with him at that time (ver. 14), would later forsake him and cause him great pain, 2 Tim. 4:10). He talks elsewhere about "false brethren" (2 Cor. 11:26; Gal 2:4), men who claimed one thing but were another. But not these men. When the battle got serious, Paul could count on them to be there at his side.
What about you and me? Are we a comfort to our brothers and sisters in Christ? One way we can be a comfort to them is by being faithful, first of all to the Lord, and then to his people. May we never be merely fair-weather companions who don't show up when the going gets rough.
Of course, the ground and the motivation for our being faithful friends is not our power to endure for the sake of others, but the faithfulness of God in Christ for us. We can lay it all on the line for our brethren because our eternal future is secure in Jesus. "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col. 3:3-4).