“You learned this from Epaphras, our much loved fellow slave. He is a faithful minister of the Messiah on your behalf, and he has told us about your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:7 CSB)
So, who was Epaphras?
It is not the purpose of the Scripture writers to detail the lives of God’s servants per se, but occasionally names do get mentioned. Paul often mentioned names, even long lists of names. Of course, names are important to people because that is what helps to identify us to one another. If someone calls your name, you immediately turn your head to see who is speaking.
So, Epaphras is a name, but he was also a person and a fellow believer. He had a personal history, a life there in the first century. We know very little about him. We know that he was from the city of Colosse in Asia Minor (Turkey). We know that at some point, probably when Paul served in Ephesus, Paul is likely the one who led him to the Lord and discipled him. We know that Epaphras is the founder of the church in Colosse, and he likely served as its pastor at least for some time. We know that Epaphras later went to Rome to serve with Paul there during Paul’s imprisonment. Beyond this, all we know is how Paul described him. He described Epaphras as, “our much loved fellow slave (servant)… a faithful minister of the Messiah on your behalf.”
Epaphras, like many others whose names appear in the Bible, serves as a reminder to us that there are untold numbers of brothers and sisters in Christ whose names have never been mentioned and are likely not going to be, and yet they have been faithful servants of the Lord. A faithful servant of the Lord does not seek stardom. A faithful servant seeks only two things: 1) to serve, and 2) to be faithful in doing so. And that is enough.
Lord, We humble ourselves before You, and in confidence and trust, we simply place our lives in Your hands for Your service. Help us to be faithful as we serve. Amen.