I took a personality test to determine if my dominant trait is sanguine (enthusiastic, adventurous), choleric (goal-oriented, project-minded), melancholic (organized, cautious), or phlegmatic (people person, peacemaker). It became pretty clear that I’m a bit of a choleric-phlegmatic mix.
The apostle Paul was also a mix of traits. He might appear to be more of a project person (choleric) than a people person (phlegmatic). But Paul repeatedly singled people out—showing his appreciation and concern for some eighty “fellow workers” listed in Acts and his letters (2 Timothy 1:15-18, 4:9-16; Titus 3:12-14). And even though the apostle didn’t start the church in Colossae, he mentioned ten different associates of that church (Colossians 4:7-18).
This gives us a window into Paul’s pastoral heart. He wasn’t just a great theologian and articulate teacher; Paul was also a great mentor and a dependable friend. He had a great capacity for caring for others and their ministry.
Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus (Colossians 4:7-11) stood out as some of the most beloved of Paul’s co-workers. They had served Paul and had served with him. Paul lavishly expressed his gratitude for their friendship when he wrote, “What a comfort they have been!” (Colossians 4:11). While he rebuked when necessary (Colossians 4:17), Paul preferred to praise others for their faithfulness (Colossians 4:12-13).
Paul affirmed people who were faithful to God, committed to the Great Commission, worked hard to build the church, and willingly paid the price for doing God’s work. By His power, may we exhibit those traits as we serve with other believers. May it be said of us that we are “faithful minister[s] and fellow servant[s] in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7 ESV).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 6:22-40
Read Romans 16:1-24 to see the pastoral heart of Paul as he wrote his appreciation and concern for his co-workers.
How are you serving Jesus alongside fellow servants? Why is it important to encourage other believers?