Several leaders in the bible qualify as "nobodies" They never became famous, like Moses, David, Peter or Paul. Instead they remained obscure even though they played a vital role in the kingdom.
Case in point...Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus is only mentioned in the book of Philippians. No books were ever written about him, to him or by him. No statues or memorials were erected in remembrance of him. For all intensive purposes...He was a "nobody"...who became a "somebody" to the Apostle Paul. Epaphroditus ran from Philippi to Rome to join the Apostle Paul in prison and ministers to him. He also carried Paul's letter back to the Philippians.
Not everyone is called by God like Moses, David, Peter or Paul. However everyone is called by God to be a somebody. The difference between being a "nobody" and a "somebody" is our response. The difference is how we choose to give ourselves away.
Here is four things I want you to know today about how Paul describes Epaphroditus.
1. A People Lover. The Apostle Paul calls him a minister. There is no other mention of him at all anywhere else in the bible. He is not mentioned as a disciple, a religious leader, is was a nobody who responded. Even great leaders need ministering. Epaphroditus loved people enough to minister to Paul as Paul ministered to people. My prayer is that as a church we all become people lovers.
2. A Risk Taker. Paul calls him a soldier. He kept risking his life when most would have run the other way. Our faith should embolden us to become risk takers. My prayer is that as a church we realize that without risk we fail. We should always be willing to bet the farm on Jesus.
3. A Tireless Worker. Paul calls him a fellow worker. Epaphroditus became ill to the brink of death because of his work for the kingdom but that didn't stop him. He became distressed because he heard the people heard he was sick. His love for the people pushed him even harder. He was tireless in his work for the kingdom. There will be times when it seems like you will want to throw the towel in...To give up. It may seem like the work you are doing is not bearing fruit, or not bearing fruit fast enough. We live in a results driven fast paced world. My prayer is that as a church we remain tireless in or work for the kingdom...in our pursuit of reaching the lost. That our focus because we love Jesus remains fixated on who Jesus loves. That in our times of distress we push ourselves even harder.
4. A Servant-Leader. Paul calls him a messenger. Without Epaphroditus serving Paul the church in Philippi would not have received Paul's letter to them. As a result of Paul tells the church to give him a hero's welcome. Epaphroditus both led and served as he became a great spokesman for the church. My prayer is that as we the church both led and serves that we will all become great spokesmen for the kingdom. That at the end of our lives what is said about us is that we were messengers for Christ.
Hey Reaction Church. Here are four things I want you to know about faithfulness...it is because of your faithfulness that God raises you up.
1. Live AHEAD of your contemporaries. Joshua spied out the same land at the same time as the other ten spies, be he and Caleb returned with a different report. He lived ahead of his time. He was faithful that God would deliver his promises when the other spies weren't. He knew that God could never go back on his word. He had a trust in God that the other spies didn't have. His trust allowed him to live ahead of his contemporaries even when his contemporaries out numbered him. He trust in God gave him a supernatural vision of how wonderful the promised land was that God was giving to them. He was able to see beyond the immediate concerns of the spies because he wasn't seeing today, he was seeing tomorrow.
2. Live ABOVE your circumstances. Joshua no doubt faced several challenges as a faithful leader. He followed Moses; had to conquer mighty Jericho, he had to cross the Jordan with more than one million people. But he did it. He never let the magnitude of the challenges and circumstances be greater than the magnitude of God. Because of his faithfulness he was always able to live above the circumstances and challenges in his life. So often we view a circumstance or challenge as being to great for God to overcome, and in that moment we stop trusting and living in a place of faithfulness. It is also in those moments in life that we take control believing that we have a greater power to overcome the circumstance or challenge...basically becoming our own God. It is amazing that harder we try the harder we fail. Always staying faithful allows you to always live above your circumstances. God is never taken off guard by your circumstance. He knows exactly what you are going thru at every moment in your life and he knows all the possible outcomes as well. When you face circumstances it may because God is testing you, proofing you for the blessings he has in store for you.
3. Live DEEPER than your calamities. When Israel began to make progress in taking the Promised Land, some disobeyed God and brought defeat on the nation. Joshua overcame it all. Do you ever feel like you take 2 steps forward with God only to get knocked back 3? Does it feel like you never really come out of the storm? Sure you might get a momentary break and it seems like your through it, but then the dark clouds come rolling back in. Joshua experienced defeats while staying faithful. It would have been easy to say...What the heck God...I am doing my best here...help me out a little! But the one thing that Joshua did was stop being faithful. His faithfulness in God was always greater than the
defeats he faced. During his calamities he increased his faith even more, asking God for even greater and more radical miracles. It was facing a possible calamity that he asked God to make the sun stand still.
4. Live BEYOND your capabilities. Joshua's dream, his determination, and his ability to develop his leadership skill's enabled him to soar beyond his own personal gifts. Joshua never settled for his personal gift as being the tool to his victories. He always left ALOT of room for God to move. So often in life we force God out of the picture because we believe we are good enough...that we GOT THIS. Joshua was able to experience God in ways that others could only dream of. He learned that his abilities were good, but God's were GREAT. So many of Christians want to experience God the way you read about in the bible. To experience literally make the sun stand still in your life simply because you asked him to. The reality is majority of Christians never experience God like this because they rest in their abilities and not in God's. If they can't get the job done, then the job doesn't get done! The only way to experience God is to let him work. He will always come thru for you.