The AMI QT Devotionals for January 8-14 are provided by Tina Hsu. Tina, a graduate of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), currently serves as a staff at the Church of Southland, Anaheim, California.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Appreciating Fellow Workers”
But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.
As we are two weeks into the new year, some of us may have already made New Year’s resolutions, while others may still be in the process of making some. In my own reflection, I thought of a few skills and habits I want to build for my own self-improvement, but the Lord also reminded me of resolutions to make for the sake of others—which led me to think about the habit of appreciation.
Being a very task-oriented person, appreciation for others is something I tend to overlook. One thing I admire and want to imitate in Paul’s leadership is his active and intentional appreciation for his co-workers. When we think about the heroes in the New Testament, we obviously think of Peter, Paul, and John. But certain passages, like this one, reveal to us that there were numerous people who served the Lord at the front line for the gospel but remained in the shadows—and they didn’t become famous like Paul and the twelve disciples. For example, Epaphroditus never became a “big name,” but he is one of the people who played a significant role in the kingdom and served sacrificially for the sake of the gospel. We can know of Epaphroditus because Paul sent him as a messenger to the Philippian church with his letter and instructed the church to receive him with all joy and to hold men like him in high regard for the ways he has served. By calling him a brother, minister, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, Paul describes him as a leader who loves people and a tireless worker who is willing to go the extra mile when serving the body of Christ.
Can you identify anyone among you who is like Epaphroditus? Think about how you can show appreciation for him or her. Also, let’s consider how we could imitate Paul in building a culture of appreciation in our hearts and to serve as encouragers to those who labor tirelessly around us.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for fellow workers and fellow soldiers whom You have sent to bless me and my church. Give me the eyes to see people like Epaphroditus in my midst, and use me to spur them on through acts of appreciation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 16