“But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”Philippians 2:24-30
In the summer of 2019, I was involved in a pretty busy week as I was asked to do something I had never done before. I received a call from my dad, and he advised me that he had set up a special speaker for Vacation Bible School. I was happy that he found a speaker and asked him who it was. He responded with a name that sounded a lot like mine. I shook my head in disbelief, and I stood there silent for a couple of seconds. I had signed up to drive the bus for VBS, but I was taken aback but the notion of being a special speaker. I have sung in the shower, but I have never had the opportunity to preach to kids as the main speaker.
That week, each day started for me at 6:30am and ended around 12:15am or so. I would get up and get ready, head to work, and then head home, change and head to VBS. I would hang out a bit at VBS and then get ready to give my message. After the message I would head out on the bus and return to church after everyone was dropped off. I would grab a bite to eat with my parents and then head home. My home responsibilities did not dissipate, so there were still things that needed to be done. I ended my night as I most often do in my massage chair and then hit the hay shortly after midnight. I could not do Friday night VBS because of Freedom That Lasts. We got home around 11:00pm on Friday, and I was spent. I was glad the week was over, and I looked forward to the three day weekend I had planned.
I am thankful that God allowed me the strength to get through the week, and I was glad to be used of God. Although I was weary, I definitely was not nigh unto death. I took my daily dose of vitamin C, and I ate quite well throughout the week. I think of my busy week, and I admire those who do this every day, all day. I think of Epaphroditus and the testimony his life was. He was such an instrument of help to Paul and aided Paul as he turned the world upside down. I have never been so engulfed in the work of the Lord that I was nigh unto death, but I am moved by Epaphroditus’ example. The passage does not speak of him wanting the spotlight or even a pat on the back, but it was Paul who praised him for his work and devotion to him and God.
Are you the type of friend that is a, “…companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered…”? Do you seek to aid others in the ministry or do you cause division among the brethren? Do you minister to the needs of others? Do you work so hard for God that you would not even regard your life? Do you try to get out of working for God or do you seek ministerial opportunities? We all think we are busy, but God will be the judge of how we used our time. Will you be an Epaphroditus or will you be one who is too busy? May we be found doing God’s work, and may we be willing to lose our life for His sake that we may find it.