We know little about Epaphras except that he was so concerned about the spiritual welfare of the people in Colosse that he is described as “laboring fervently . . . in prayers” for them (Colossians 4:12). When I was a pastor, I saw this kind of enthusiasm in the way new converts prayed and witnessed. But all too often, many of them gradually lost their zeal.
I believe it was King Joash’s lack of enthusiasm that made Elisha so angry (2 Kings 13). The monarch had obeyed the dying prophet’s command to shoot an arrow toward the east. He had heard Elisha’s promise that God would bring his nation complete deliverance from Syria. Joash had obeyed the command to strike the ground with a bundle of arrows, which he did three times. So why did the prophet angrily tell him he should have struck the ground five or six times?
I believe it was because he felt Joash was following his instructions in a half-hearted manner. The king should have been far more enthusiastic in his response to God’s wonderful message of victory over Israel’s enemies.
The king’s nonchalance cost him dearly. He won an incomplete victory. I wonder how many spiritual victories we forfeit because of our lack of zeal.
Let us serve the Lord with gladness
And enthusiastic praise,
Telling all who do not know Him
Of His great and wondrous ways. —Sper
Godly zeal is love on fire.