Obscure Saints

I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier who is also your messenger and minister to my need. Philippians 2:25


Who is Epaphroditus? As we were discussing Philippians, one young woman queried, “I have heard of Paul and of Timothy but who was this guy?”

I was excited to hear her ask because Epaphroditus, known and loved by God, Paul and the Philippians, had a critical role to play as messenger and minister of the gospel, yet we learn very few of the details. I am encouraged to see his name right alongside the well-known men of faith, Paul and Timothy. It is a beautiful picture of how the body of Christ works together, some members highly visible and some nearly unseen, united in purpose so that Christ will be glorified. Paul’s praise of Epaphroditus reminds me that faithfulness, not prominence, is highly prized and precious to God.

I am privileged to know more than a few Epaprodituses, among whom I will call Debbie, Priscilla, June and Marie. Not many notice their faithful ministry or realize the extent which their love and prayers advance the gospel; but God takes note of every hidden word and deed. He is blessed and pleased because their quiet lives exhibit the sweet-smelling aroma of Christ.


Maybe you can relate to Epaphroditus, believing that you play a “minor” role in God’s kingdom purposes. Unlike the way the world values large scale performances, the Lord rejoices with every one of our unseen actions motivated by our love for Him. And after all, no matter how much worldly attention and recognition anyone receives, there is really only one who is worthy of honor and praise – Jesus.

M & M


Mary, recognizing her purpose, sat peacefully listening at the feet of Jesus while Martha, confused about her purpose, worried and was bothered about so many things.

According to one survey, 75% of Christians don’t know their purpose. As I kept hearing messages on purpose, I found it difficult to pinpoint my purpose in the way these messages implied. The more I reflected upon purpose, the more I began to question whether that survey and many books on purpose begin with the wrong questions. What is my purpose? What is that special task God wants me to do?

This puts pressure on me to figure “it” out and then do “it”. However, consider Philippians 2:15, “For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work His good pleasure/purpose,” Depending on the version, some Bibles translate the final word purpose, some pleasure. Interesting! Gods purpose and pleasure are intertwined through my life. This verse places the emphasis on where it should be – God not me.

Most people who talk about purpose focus on what we do, not who we are. As my friend Priscilla says, “We are human beings NOT human doings.” So true! God values each one of us because we are His own beloved masterpieces, not because of anything we can accomplish for Him. Our world is obsessed with numbers and success, with large and influential actions. Sadly, the church is following the world’s lead in this matter.

In my favorite children’s book, Children of the King, by Max Lucado, the king travels to meet his five adopted children. Since he appears in disguise as a weary, traveling man, four of the children ignored him because they were busy doing great works to impress the king. The final child, who believed she had nothing to offer the king, spent her days waiting near the town gate welcoming those who entered. She enjoyed a delightful conversation with the traveler and cared for his horse. When he returned, he admitted to the girl that he was the king and asked her to accompany him on his journey. When she inquired about the others, he told her they were too preoccupied to realize He was in their midst.

Whenever I hear messages that cause me to feel unraveled because I have not identified “my” purpose, and it does not seem I am doing anything “great” for God, I re-read Children of the King and remember His purpose for me is delighting in His presence.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord endures forever.book king

Christian Code Words


If you spend most of you time around people who identify themselves as Christians, you may not even notice. However, if you are unfamiliar with Christianity or have not spent much time in church, you may be thinking, Christians say some confusing things. For the most part, these code words/phrases have become ingrained in our daily talk similar to how someone says fiesta when referring to a party. We don’t even consider our language may be unclear or misunderstood. For example, consider the word “convict.”

Convict (verb) – for the Holy Spirit to make us aware of our sin.

A few weeks ago, I remarked, “That really convicted me.” It was a shortcut and actually kept me from more accurately stating, “I really fall short of God’s standard in that area.”

Hmmmm, what does God’s standard mean? God’s standard is a pattern for walking the Christian life.

Walking the Christian life …a figure of speech meaning following Jesus and the example He set in everyday life, gaining victory over sin.



The web of words just gets bigger. In fact, I think the enemy is attacking me.

At times we use words directly taken from the Bible, and want to communicate Biblical ideas, yet these phrases don’t make sense if taken literally in our language today. My (nearly) daughter-in law shared an example from her profession in mental health. Her supervisor encountered a client who used many Christian code words during her intake assessment, several times mentioning she was “under the blood.” The supervisor questioned my daughter-in-love if this woman was grounded in reality or was this an indicator the client was dealing with serious mental health issues?

Does the world think we are foolish because we believe in Jesus, who is completely God, yet came to earth as a man, died on a cross and was raised from the dead? Maybe they do; however, I want others to observe I am outrageously passionate about my love for Jesus and everyone else, not that I say peculiar things. Yes, I will probably use many of those code phrases again this week, but instead of just spouting words on auto-pilot, I want to consider how my speech is heard, not only by those who know the language but by those who don’t. Perhaps, it is the difference between preaching to the choir and testifying to the world.

Don’t forget to bring your sword to fellowship. 😊