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 (58)

58 thoughts on "Timothy and Epaphroditus"

  1. PamC says:

    Sending hugs & thanks across the country, across the pond, and wherever else all y’all are this Valentines morning. Every day you bless me with love & wisdom. Thank you for sharing. I’m not much of a commenter but I love reading the Bible, this commentary at SRT, and my SRT sisters. It’s the only way I can start my day. May the Lord bless & keep you today and every day.

  2. Chris Swan says:

    Thank you ladies. You make my heart smile.

  3. Krystle says:

    Hallelujah Kathy! I’m so glad to hear of Macy’s healing!! ❤️

  4. Laura S says:

    I grew up surrounded by males (5 brothers), then I got married and gave birth to two sons. Many years ago, I decided to start reading the bible. I tried a couple of times but I just could not get past all the “begetting”. And I couldn’t help but notice that all the begotten were boys! I cannot tell you how grateful I am that God’s grace has led me here to SRT and all the amazing sisters I have found here. Thank you, SRT, for teaching me how to read God’s message and for showing me that He has not forgotten His other “begotten”, His daughters. And thank you, my beautiful sisters, for your words of wisdom and encouragement. I know without a doubt that God has a plan for each and every one of us. I know, because He has blessed me with two amazing daughters (in-law) and two precious granddaughters! I’m so thankful for the time I get to spend with my SRT family, sharing God’s Word and the love of our Savior. May we all step out in love and peace to all peoples of the earth and everything in it. Blessings of grace, peace and love to all! Happy St. Valentine’s Day to all!

  5. Donna Wolcott says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day dear sisters. I too look forward to reading your messages each morning, some articulate what I sometimes think but have trouble putting in to words. Blessings and love to each of you ❤️ from RI

  6. MARTHA HIX says:


  7. Lisa Z says:

    Sisters. I love you! So grateful I found this group. I am sitting here with happy tezrs full of blessings from all of you. Thank you, Churchmouse, for the image of us meeting in heaven. I am pondering all the love and laughter we will have together. What a blessing you all are! I am comforted to overflowing and will share that comfort with those I encounter today. I will challenge myself to comfort those that need it most, those that are a challenge. With Christ, and the encouragement of his earthly hands and feet, (that is y’all sisters) I will extend his love to those hurting. Thank you so much for the strength you give me! Truly priceless!

  8. Carolyn says:

    Thank you Bailey, for sharing about the incredible, inspiring witness of Elisabeth Elliott. I was not familiar with her, but grateful to have found several of her speeches and stories of her life online. I am hoping to be “ready to be shown” God’s will for each day of my life. What a great Valentine’s Day message to be encouraging others who are showing us the way.

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