How good is your memory? What thoughts and feelings do you sometimes think about? Who do you remember? What do you remember about them?
What will others remember about you?
I recall hearing a speaker pose the question, “What do people say about me when I am not around?” What thoughts or feelings do they recall and comment on to others? Do they joke about my idiosyncrasies? Do they belittle one of my character flaws? Do they comment on my strengths. Does anyone talk about how helpful I have been to him or her? Or am I not the topic of conversation because I’m boring to be around and I don’t have anything that interests others, so there is nothing to talk about?
How would you like to be remembered?
The apostle Paul had two exceptional men that he wanted his Philippian friends to remember. In his letter to the Philippians he spoke of his trustworthy associate, Timothy. With heartfelt, glowing words he praised him. “I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you.
Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus.
But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing” (2:20–22 MSG).
Paul describes Timothy as a one-of-a-kind friend and dependable coworker. Someone on whom he could depend. He observed him in many situations, under a variety of circumstances and has found him to be solid, dependable and a true follower of Christ. Paul considers Timothy an exceptional person, a gift from the Lord. He contrasts him with others that he’s known saying that everyone else basically looks out for their own interests and benefits. Timothy is the exception. In Paul’s mind he’s a rare treasure.
But Paul isn’t finished. Having spoken about Timothy, he has another man that he wants us to know about — another truly exceptional person. He talks about Epaphroditus, giving glowing references as though the man had applied for a job. Here are two things that stand out. First, he considers him a friend and someone who has been tested out as an associate, so Paul knows what kind of man he is. Second, he says that Epaphroditus is a man of compassion, deeply concerned for the Philippians. Though he has been seriously ill he can’t wait to go to be with them. Paul says that if this man had died it would have been a huge loss to both Paul and the folks he is eager to see.
I’d like to have known Timothy and Epaphroditus.
Where are the Timothy’s and Epaphroditus’s today? Do you have someone who fits that description? Are you one? Am I one? Would these be the words others would use to describe us? Someone who is very dear to my heart recently asked me to speak at his funeral. (He’s still in good health but is thoughtful about the future). I told him that I’d be honored to do that. He is a present day Epaphroditus, always concerned about others. He gives of his time, energy and resources to bless those around him. He inspires me to invest my time, energy and resources to bless and benefit others.
We are living in very troubling times. The need for godly men and women of true biblical character is an urgent need. I have found myself praying that our Lord would raise up such people to provide leadership and direction in this season of life. I have been personally challenged to reflect on how I am investing my time. I’m more aware of the needs of those around me. You and I have an unparalleled opportunity to invest our lives in those around us. We can be committed to be remembered by the next generation as someone who walked beside them encouraging, guiding and strengthening them. Let’s be a Timothy; be an Epaphroditus.