The ministry of the Christian should always be to leave a place better than you found it.
If you think about it, this truly is the ministry of Christ. He always improves the environment where He is present. He never leaves it unchanged. He never makes it worse. He always makes it better.
As Paul signs off his letter to the church at Colosse, (as well as the church at Laodicea,) he has this in mind and heart.
Isn’t it interesting one of the best things we can do to improve the environment we live in is to pray for others in the environment where they live? Paul knows this, and this is a major part of his asking those at Colosse and Laodicea to pray.
First of all, he knows the importance of prayers of thankfulness to God in the life of the Christian, because they lift the eyes off the self whether things are good or bad. When things are going well, our prayers of thanksgiving remind us Who has brought this marvelous bounty into our lives. When in times of difficulty, our thankfulness to God reminds us our lives are eternal, and that these present difficulties – no matter how difficult – are but for a moment, and the glory that awaits us, (the basis of ALL thankfulness,) is eternal in heaven.
In each case, our prayers of thanksgiving improve the environment where we live. In the season of blessing, how important it is to remind ourself and those around us the source of all the blessings we are presently experiencing, lest we – and they – think somehow we ourselves are responsible for the blessings we are receiving. (Sometimes seasons of blessing are those in which we are MOST likely to take our eyes off God.)
Similarly, in seasons of downfall and despair, our prayers remind us and those around us of the greatness of the God we serve – ESPECIALLY when things are heading in the wrong direction, (as far as we can tell.) Our prayers of thankfulness to God in our seasons of sadness remind us God is sovereign. They also remind those around us of how His presence in a life produces eternal beauty from ashes.
And if – no matter what season of life we may be in – we may be reminded to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves, we also have the opportunity to not only improve the environment where we live, but also the environment of the one(s) we pray for.
This is Paul’s heart. That their environment may be improved. And likewise his.
From his prison cell in Rome, Paul’s concern remains focused on others. Even in his request of their prayers for himself, Paul’s desire is for the door of that cell to be opened for his ability to continue to share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. With others. That their lives may be changed eternally for the better.