Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers. —Philemon 1:23-24
Imagine what an honour it would have been to know you were mentioned in one of Paul’s epistles. In his letter to Philemon, the apostle wrote, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers” (Philemon 1:23–24).
I think it would be tempting to bring up that little detail in conversation: Hi, my name is Aristarchus. You may have heard of me from one of Paul’s epistles. . . .
One of the people Paul mentioned was Demas, whose name appeared not only in one epistle, but two. The bad news is the second mention was about his apostasy. Something had happened to Demas in the time between Paul’s letter to Philemon and his second letter to Timothy, because we read, “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica . . .” (2 Timothy 4:10). In other words, Hey, remember Demas? Yeah . . . well, he is not with me anymore. The reason? Demas “loved this present world.”
That is why the Bible says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15–16).
There is nothing wrong with being blessed by God with things like a nice home or a good career. In fact, the Bible tells us that God “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). But if those things have become the most important to you—more important than God Himself—then that is a problem, my brethren.
Sir Godfrey Gregg