Biblical Role Models and Inspirations
 …just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf  and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:7–8)
Only three times.
Epaphras from our reading is mentioned a grand total of three times in the Bible, yet God made Epaphras instrumental in my life.
About five years into ordained ministry I taught a Bible class on Philemon. I didn’t recognize an early church leader named Epaphras mentioned in verse 23, so I did a little research on him. I learned it was thought that Epaphras learned the Gospel from the Apostle Paul in Ephesus. Then Epaphras returned home and shared the Gospel in the towns of Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis. Ultimately, congregations were formed in those communities.
I started thinking about what a privilege it would be to go and share the Gospel in communities that needed to hear about Jesus. Then see people who were brought to faith join with Lutheran believers in the area to form churches, churches that would disciple and catechize their own future “Epaphrases”.
Within three years the church I was serving started a new campus with the goal of it becoming a freestanding congregation. Two years after that I accepted a call to serve as a Missionary-at-Large in the Pacific Southwest. God used Epaphras as one of the key inspirations for this work.
In addition of Jesus, who are your Biblical role models and inspirations? King David? Mary, the mother of our Lord? One of the Apostles? How about someone less famous, like Epaphras? I’m also inspired by King Josiah in the Old Testament and Lydia in the New Testament.
It’s never too late to find new Biblical role models and inspirations. Choose someone from the Scriptures. Use your Bible’s concordance to track down the different places he or she is found in the Scriptures. Ponder how God intervened in this person’s life; consider how this person’s journey of faith might parallel your own life.
Just in keep in mind God works through His Word as God sees fit. We never know exactly how God will use this Biblical role model in your life. But we do know God will use it for our benefit and the benefit of His people.
(A Second Look devotions are made for the congregations of the Ohio District LCMS.)