But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier,who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him,so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
Epaphroditus (try saying that one time fast!) was the definition of a caring and selfless guy. This guy was legit. When Paul was under house arrest in Rome, Epaphroditus – let’s call him Epaph from now on – was the guy who chose to travel at least 6 weeks by foot from his home in Philippi to take care of Paul. He was more than just a deliverer of some lettuce, bread, and sandals though.
He brought hope, peace, and comfort. He brought friendship. In a time when people were put under house arrest for talking about Jesus, Epaph still chose to come to Paul and help him share the gospel with anyone who would listen. He didn’t let fear rule his life. Instead, he pressed on and fought for Jesus in any way he could. When Epaph became deathly ill, he was not concerned with himself. He was more concerned with getting back home so everyone would know that he was okay and had recovered. You can see the character of Christ in him.
May your love for one another run this deep. May you see each other as brothers and sisters. May you look out for each other, fight for one another, and keep finding ways to share the love of Jesus no matter where life takes you.
Dear God, please surround me with people who will lift me up and encourage me when life gets hard and teach me to do the same for them.
Galatians 6:2, Proverbs 17:17, Romans 1:11-12