Jump directly to the Content

Pastoral Care for Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks

Paul shows us how to restore worth to the wounded and weary.
español
Pastoral Care for Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks
Image: Illustration by Rick Szuecs | Source images: David Suarez / Unsplash | Wikimedia Commons

“I wish I could be more like Epaphroditus.”

That was the sentiment of one group member after our Zoom discussion of Philippians 2. Epaphroditus makes a big impression in spite of only brief references (2:25–30 and 4:18). Paul describes him in glowing terms as “my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs” (2:25). In light of Paul’s words, my friend felt inferior by comparison.

But when we read the whole story of Epaphroditus more slowly, a rather different, more human picture emerges. The church in Philippi had sent Epaphroditus to deliver a financial gift and assist Paul while he was in prison. But after Epaphroditus arrived, his health deteriorated rapidly. We aren’t told what his illness was, but he nearly died from it. In his convalescence, Epaphroditus grew extremely homesick. Knowing everyone back in Philippi was worried about his condition only added to his distress.

The stress ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Good Pastors Don't Make Churches Grow
Good Pastors Don't Make Churches Grow
One of the leading spokesmen of the church growth movement outlines what he believes increases the membership of a church.
From the Magazine
Reading God’s Word like a Poem, Not an Instruction Manual
Reading God’s Word like a Poem, Not an Instruction Manual
The Bible teaches us, says Matthew Mullins, but its method of teaching always entails more than information and guidance.
Editor's Pick
Your Presence Is a Living Sermon
Your Presence Is a Living Sermon
Showing up makes God’s love tangible when people need it most.
close