READ : Philippians 2:25-30
“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity,” declares the author of Proverbs (Pr. 17:17, NIV). Faithful friends ministered to us when we were living through hard times. They asked us to dinner and listened to us unload our feelings. Other friends committed themselves to pray for us or brought gifts as a token of their love. They wrote letters, offered us their time and stayed with us. Common interests, common goals and common histories have activated developing friendships between us.
Epaphroditus provided such a friendship for Paul. He delivered a gift to Paul from the church at Philippi but became seriously ill and was delayed in returning. After his recovery Paul sent him back to Philippi urging the church to give him a cheerful welcome.
Epaphroditus became a true friend, risking his life for Paul. One of the greatest gifts we can give another is ourselves, voluntarily investing our best efforts in another person’s welfare at whatever cost that may be to us. To become like Epaphroditus means we do not shut ourselves off in self-protection and private comfort, but obey God in serving our friends. Am I, are you, such a friend?
Lord, help us to become genuine all-out friends for others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.