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Unsung Heroes

Unsung Heroes

Words of Faith 8-23-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Philippians 2

[25] But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. [26] For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. [27] 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. [28] 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. [29] Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, [30] because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.


There are so many things we take for granted until they are not there. If the car does not start one morning, I am in a bit of a panic. If my E-Mail system goes down, insanity could be near. If the AC goes out at home, it could be the end of everything. And there are not many things worse than a bad computer day!

Paul's E-mail system was simple. His name was Epaphroditus! A great name for some new software. Without this guy with the strange name, we would not be perusing the words of Paul on our computer screens. He carried the letter from the Philippian church and Paul's letter back.

The faithfulness of Epaphroditus became the foundation of another critical friendship in Paul's life. The journey to bring a letter from the Philippians had weakened Epaphroditus such that he had become sick and almost died. Paul, confined to a prison cell, was deeply indebted to his efforts and perseverance. The congregation back in Philippi had learned of the severe illness and had been greatly concerned.

So who was Epaphroditus in the big picture? Why was he so important that Paul recorded his name? He was one of the thousands, maybe millions, of "little people" throughout history whose dedication has brought the Gospel forward to this day. Paul had learned over the years that without the help of such people, inspired and empowered by God, the faith simply would not go forth.

In other letters, Paul called this the gift of "helps." Here, Paul says, "Give him a hero's welcome." In every church I have ever served, there were hundreds of thankless little jobs that somehow got done. Sometimes they were organized, but often it was a matter of someone seeing a need and quietly, simply, doing it and not quitting.

As Epaphroditus trudged from Philippi to Rome and back, there must have been many times when he wanted to quit. There must have been times when he questioned the importance of the scrap of papyrus in his satchel sheltered from the elements. But he did not quit. He did not consider his task too small. He did not complain that he did not get to speak or that his name was not listed in the weekly bulletin. He just did his job.

Paul says that there is a place for honoring such a person. I doubt that there will be many ceremonies in heaven. But if there are the top honorees will not include the people we might first think of the Pauls or the Apostles or the great preachers of history. The Lord will likely start with some of the quiet unnamed servants who carried messages, or sorted crayons, or straightened pews, or just stopped to listen.


Lord, help me to notice today some of Your unnamed heroes so I might give them a hero's welcome or at least a thank you. Teach me the art of quiet service and the gift of helping without being asked. In Jesus' name. Amen.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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