It was a grey day as I pulled my grey truck into the driveway about mid-morning. It was early November. There was a little bit of wind and rain—the sun was nowhere to be found.
Off to the side of our garage was some honeysuckle growing up and over a shoulder-high shrub. I had pointed it out a few days earlier to my gardener/yard specialist extraordinaire wife. Of course, she had already noticed and wondered as I did what it was doing in full flower at this time of year. She also mentioned that she wanted to take a picture of it for our eight-year-old grandson who loves honeysuckle.
But what got my attention this day as I climbed out of the truck wasn’t the honeysuckle, it was a bumblebee who was diligently going from flower to flower. It was about 50 degrees outside, bleak and dreary—it just didn’t fit.
But there it was, paying no attention to the calendar, the temperature, or anything else. It was just going about its business the same as it would have been doing if it had been a spectacular day with bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures. In a week, maybe two, it’s life would be over (bees don’t do cold weather). But none of that mattered at this moment, it was doing what it always did.
You know some disciples like that. don’t you? Whether the weather in their lives is fair or foul, they’re going about the business of the kingdom. Even as the end of their life approaches, their constant in carrying on in whatever way they are able. It never enters their minds to stop, step back, and “enjoy” life. Fools for Christ that they are, they’re under the impression they’ve been enjoying life. After all, they’re doing what they were created to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).
All of this makes me think about what Paul said to a disciple named Archippus. He told him, “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord” (Colossians 4:17). Archippus is mentioned only one other time (Philemon 1:2). There Paul refers to him as “our fellow soldier,” so it’s possible he was an evangelist like Paul. And although it seems natural to think of him as part of the Colossian church, his mention after v. 15-16 possibly suggests that he was part of the Laodicean church. There are more speculations we could cover about Archippus (see the commentaries), but it’s all secondary. What is primary is what we know—he was wavering in his work for the Lord. Paul, in a manner of speaking, points him to the bumblebee and tells his to “complete the ministry you have received.”
Difficulties, hardships, and tough times are ours by birthright (Acts 14:22; Philippians 1:29). If we’re waiting for a time when our ministry becomes a hassle-free, ministry of convenience, it will never be completed. The message to Archippus and us is this: people who have been made complete by Christ complete their ministry!