Colossians 4

This devotional is written by Trissie Coleshaw.

Colossians 4

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Further instructions
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Final greetings

7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

10 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.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 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. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

16 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.

17 Tell Archippus: ‘See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.’

18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.


Paul begins and ends Colossians 4 with a delicious deflation of the human ego. He reminds us that no matter how important we think we are in relation to God’s other children, every one of us is subject to the ‘Master in heaven’ – you and I are nobody’s ultimate authority. We had better not, therefore, make the mistake of treating people unfairly, but work hard to lead gracious lives, to speak with depth and inspiration so that those who hear us are made hungry for God’s Word, opening their hearts to receive the Bread of Life.

While Paul’s didactic voice can sometimes make him appear intimidating or remote, he ends Colossians 4 by applying the opening message of humility to his own situation. We see him keep his own ego in check here by aligning himself with the position of the slave, reminding us of his chains, of his captivity, and of his powerlessness over other human beings. Opening up his life to publicly serving the Holy Spirit is one thing, but the vulnerability required for former tough-guy persecutor Paul to not only endure the humiliation of captivity, but to also be honest about his vulnerability to the people he was commissioned to serve, inspire and lead, shows us how God will always harness our weakness and help us turn it into power.

What we can also take away from Colossians 4 is that while Paul the Apostle was a formidable and awe-inspiring leader, he did not live out his journey of faith and glory on his own. In this letter, we see that he is surrounded by faithful friends, fellow Christ-followers, as he passes on the greetings of Barnabas, Aristarchus, Justus, and Epaphras to the readers in Colossae. His Epistles are themselves evidence that by walking with God, for God, and by God’s grace, he had gained loved ones all across the world.

Perhaps it’s not always apparent, perhaps you feel like you've been flying solo through life for too long, or maybe like you're constantly carrying the weight of the world single handedly, but remember: like Paul, you are not alone. Take comfort in the fact that church is your community; friends, families and colleagues are your community; Small Groups are your community; and most precious of all: you in your relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a sacred, eternal community, now and evermore. Thank God for these blessings, and if you are someone that finds it hard to reach out and connect, then pray also for Paul’s honesty and humility in order to ask for the help you need, when you need it.

Know that you are worth it. Know that your request is an invitation for others to experience God’s healing love working through them. Asking for help is a gift to other people! But most of all, thank the Lord for His patience, His forgiveness and loyalty; that as Master in heaven, He is not just merciful and kind in nature to those who love Him, but He is mercy and kindness itself.

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