Dear Friend of Vision
“Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. (Phm. 23-24)
In life, you never choose your family…you get what you get. However, we believe that we choose our friends, but that isn’t always true. When you have a friend, especially ones willing to go through tough times with you, well, they are worth cherishing and commending.
In this list, with the exception of Demas (who left under dubious conditions), Paul seems to have two categories of friends…fellow workers and one remarkable fellow, Epaphras, a fellow prisoner.
Without doubt, Luke the physician, Mark, originally the infamous deserter John Mark, cause of the fight and eventual breakup between Barnabas and Paul, Aristarchus, who had to be reminded to mind his ministry, were all dear friends of Paul. They were co-laborers, suffering with him…but Epaphras was more than a friend. He jumped down into the Roman (no bathroom, sleep on the floor) prison with his father in the faith, Paul; now that is commitment…or insanity!
Well, it is easy to have friends when things are well; there is money in the bank, wife or husband is happy, etc. But when prison or other problems come, that is when the real friends are seen. They show up, sometimes disappointed,but still there…and some are even willing to go to prison with us. I hope neither you or I get the opportunity to test that one out.