Philippians 2:25-30 (MSG)
25 But for right now, I'm dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I'm sending him to help you out. 26 He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he's been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine. 27 He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him-he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others. 28 So you can see why I'm so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you'll rejoice and how relieved I'll be. 29 Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give. 30 Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren't able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.
Epaphroditus is only mentioned in this one passage from Philippians. He doesn’t get the notoriety of Barnabas, Timothy, or Titus but Epaphroditus was one of Paul’s helpers. One of the things I’ve discovered over the years is that those with the gift of helping are very comfortable in a supporting role. In fact, helpers seem to find spiritual nourishment and joy in the act of helping. Dr. Roland Bainton, who was for many years an eminent historian on the faculty of Yale University Divinity School, once paid tribute to his father, a small town preacher:
My father’s congregation never numbered more than 200. He was an inconspicuous minister. He early realized that he would never play a major role in the life the Church. Had he been invited to some renowned pulpit, he would not have accepted. Within the limitations of his particular gifts, he aimed nevertheless at excellence, reminding himself that “the wayside pool reflects the fleeting clouds as exactly as does the mighty ocean.
It’s not the flamboyant that make the world go around. It’s those who work quietly and faithfully. Paul’s presence in Philippi may have been diminished if it had not been for Epaphroditus. As you think about your service in the Body of Christ consider this:
There isn’t much I can do, but I can share my bread with you, and sometimes a sorrow too-as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can sit an hour with you, and I can share a joke with you, and sometimes share a verse, too-as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my flowers with you, and I can share my books with you and sometimes share your burdens, too-as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my songs with you, and I can share my mirth with you, and sometimes come and laugh with you-as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my hopes with you, and I can share my fears with you, and sometimes shed some tears with you-as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my friends with you, and I can share my life with you, and I can share my Lord with you and oftentimes a prayer or two-as on the way we go.
Think about it.
In a sermon preached by Donald Shelby, January 21, 1990.