The true purpose of life for the saints and faithful in Christ is to the maintenance of a twofold relationship- toward God, and toward those who are without. The first is covered by prayer as it includes adoration, confession, and petition. This life must be sedulously cultivated. A necessary element in such a life is watchfulness. Yet such watchfulness is not to be characterized by anxiety, for it is to be "with thanksgiving." Cheerfulness is to mingle with cautiousness. Toward "them that are without" the saint is to walk in wisdom. This again is closely linked with the prayer life. Moreover, the speech of the saint is to be characterized by grace and salt, that is by courteousness, and yet by the qualities which prevent corruption.
The letter closes with references that were local and personal. The references to Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus, are characterized by Paul's recognition of their excellences. The one picture that stands out is that of Epaphras. Evidently when the letter was written he was with Paul, and there was striving in prayer for that Church of which really he was a member. In this description of Epaphras we have an insight into his character. He was praying for them that they might "stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God." What greater prayer is it possible for any to offer for loved ones than this, and what greater service can anyone render than thus to strive in prayer on behalf of the loved ones? The final words have in them a touch of pathos. Taking the stylus from the one to whom he had been dictating, he wrote words which indicate at once his sense of limitation and his desire for sympathy, "Remember my bonds."
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24