When you want to go home

We have a little Bible study, a few fellow moms and I, of the simplest kind. We gather in one of our homes, read a section of the Bible together, and discuss. We drink a hot drink, nibble a bit, share life and pray a little at the end, and call it good. It’s one of my favourite times of the week.

Last fall we did the book of Philippians, which I hadn’t studied in a group for ages (if ever). The apostle Paul is the writer, and he’s writing from Rome where he’s on house arrest. He writes the letter to a fellowship of Jesus-followers located in Philippi in Macedonia. Here’s one of the sections the girls and I read together.

“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare… But think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him… 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. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him.”

Epaphroditus isn’t a big character in the Bible; his isn’t a name you remember. I’d never paid this section any heed at all… till now. Here’s a guy who volunteered to journey out from his home to visit Paul and serve him. He stayed with Paul, helped him, got really sick, improved… and now is ready to go back to where he came from.

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