Day 5

Timothy and Epaphroditus

from the Philippians reading plan

Philippians 2:19-30, Acts 19:21-22, 1 Corinthians 16:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

BY Bailey Gillespie

It was an early morning in June when I logged into my work computer at our university library. I hadn’t been online for more than a minute before seeing tributes pouring in from church leaders, moms, and others whose lives have been enriched by this one woman and her heart for God. Elisabeth Elliot had died.

Elisabeth’s writing helped guide my spiritual formation after I stumbled across her work somewhere around the age of twenty years old. An American missionary, wife, author, and speaker, she was a modest saint, one who would never call attention to herself. She saw our lives as “chalices” or “empty vessels willing and ready to be filled with the life of God.” But on this June morning, people seemed to think it right to honor her long walk of faithfulness.

During his missionary journeys, the apostle Paul honored his ministry partners in a similar way by speaking well of them. When he wrote to groups like the one in Philippi, he vouched for his friends and elevated their good qualities so there would be no question of their credibility. Timothy was a “like-minded” man doing the Lord’s work with “proven character” (Philippians 2:20, 22; 1 Corinthians 16:10). Epaphroditus was his “brother” who should be welcomed with “great joy” (Philippians 2:25, 29). Paul also asked these churches to recognize and hold in high regard those among them who were risking their lives for the kingdom (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13).

Jesus tells us, “You will have suffering in the world.” (John 16:33). I’ve always found it strange when we describe life as having seasons of trials and tribulations. Instead of life being a static plane of serenity with intermittent times of trial, it sometimes seems that life itself is the trial with intermittent times of serenity. One thing that gives us strength while following Jesus is our friendship with others and their encouragement on the journey.

I hope people pointed out the good they saw in Elisabeth Elliot while she was alive. I imagine that her modest personality was challenged now and then by opportunities to focus on affirmation from others. But even if not, I hope her story inspires us to follow Paul’s model and affirm the God-honoring qualities we see in our brothers and sisters. This isn’t to draw self-serving attention or make them arrogant; it’s an opportunity to build up the Body of Christ in a world so often marked by anything but serenity.

Post Comments (60)

60 thoughts on "Timothy and Epaphroditus"

  1. Karen Harris says:

    After reading this, I need to write some Thank You notes to show my appreciation.

  2. Larnise Boain says:

    It’s good to build others up in the Lord. I’ve done this and sometime to accolades come back to me – which is never my intention. But God’s laborers need encouragement and our prayers to continue the race.

  3. Heidi Jones says:

    21For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
    This truth has been a pattern in our reading…I know the Lord is convicting my heart because often times I do what’s best for me, not always what’s best for others. I want to meditate on this truth today and pray that I am transformed more like Christ in this area.

  4. Susan Crosby says:

    Oh to be like Timothy who was doing the Lord’s work instead of doing my own interests.

  5. Shana Fields says:

    I love that you mentioned Elisabeth ELLIOTT. When I was in college, all my friends were reading Passion and Purity, and I am pretty sure I read a couple of her books. I think of her as a wise spiritual mother for my generation, loving and kind. I didn’t realize she had died a few years ago… if I knew, I had forgotten. I am so very glad you reminded me of her today.

  6. Kristina says:

    This devotion made me realize how truly thankful I am for the SRT team. I don’t believe my spiritual growth would be where it is without them, and I am so awed by their love for the Lord and love for us.
    Thank you so incredibly much, SRT!!!

  7. Barby WraySchwarz says:

    Yesterday my husband surprised me and we took the whole day off together . I put on a hat and off we went. But first I said…..”I haven’t had my quiet time yet!” I am excited to read along with you ladies. Thank you for your ministry. I am loving this time to soak up Gods Word!

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