He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. (Colossians 4:7b, NIV)
Those are pretty good credentials, don't you think?
- He is dear: loved and loving, warm and special.
- He is a brother: speaks of family, relationship, tied by Christ to brothers and sisters in Christ.
- He is a faithful minister: He serves, day in and day out.
- He is a fellow: He is connected to the apostolic mission.
- He is a servant in the Lord: He is a bond slave of Christ. We know Christ owns him.
You could extrapolate that as you move on in service of the Lord, you start as a brother, move to one who serves, and finally graduate, as it were, to being a full fledged slave as your identity. We could also look at these as three spheres. Some people are happy to be brothers or sisters, in the Lord, but don't want to serve or be bond slaves of Christ. Other people take on the title of minister which is supposed to mean server and they may very well serve in what they do, but they cannot accept the identity as bond slaves and act like masters rather than slaves.