If there is one word that I think encapsulates this passage, it’s “faithful.”
Tychicus, “a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” (4:17)
Onesimus, a once unfaithful slave (see Philemon), but now a “faithful and dear brother.” (9)
Aristarchus, faithful to the point of being imprisoned for the Lord along with Paul. (10)
John Mark, cousin of Barnabas. Like Onesimus, he had once been unfaithful, leaving Paul and Barnabas in the middle of a missionary journey (Acts 13:13). But now, along with Justus, Mark was faithful to Paul, comforting him in his time in prison. (10-11)
Epaphras, a man faithful in “wrestling in prayer” for the Colossians and “working hard” for them. (12-13)
Unfortunately, Demas (14) would later prove to be unfaithful, leaving Paul for love of the world (2 Timothy 4:10).
And so finally, fittingly, a charge from Paul to a man named Archippus.
See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord. (17)
In short, “Be faithful.”
How about you? Are you faithful?
If you feel you are, remember Demas, and be steadfast. Don’t lose your faithfulness for love of the world.
And if you feel you aren’t, remember Onesimus and Mark. They too at one point were unfaithful, but God gave them a second chance. And God will give you a second chance too.
So wherever you’re at in life, be faithful, that you may receive praise from God on the day of judgment.