But I 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, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Philippians 2:25-27. (EHV).
Do you pray when people ask for “thoughts and prayers?” Full confession here: sometimes I don’t. Sometimes, I let the selfishness of this world lead me to say “I’ll pray for you” and then I forget to. Usually, if I say I’m going to, I stop what I’m doing and say a quick prayer for whatever is requested, then I go about my day. Out of sight out of mind? Maybe a little. More than that, I simply understand that I’ve put the matter in God’s hands and He is always to be trusted to do what is best.
I don’t know that anyone has sent another person ever to specifically care for my needs. When I was in the hospital some months back, my family all visited me and tended to me in the weeks after (when I was recuperating). And friends also visited, shared gifts, and let me know of their love. But I can’t say that I’ve ever known of anyone who ever sent someone from far away to assist me in my work or tend to my needs like the Philippians had sent their brother, Epaphroditus. Indeed, by sending a co-worker to help Paul, they were doing more than just online thoughts and prayers.
So maybe that’s a good cue for us to consider doing more as well. Reach out and bring a meal to someone. Go help a friend move furniture. When someone doesn’t have enough to pay a bill, help them out. Haven’t talked in awhile with an old friend who’s going through some trouble? Call them…better yet, go visit them. More than any of these things, listen attentively. Let’s each resolve to follow Jesus closer here, today, by starting to listen attentively to what the folks around us are saying. Listen to relate to their problems, their concerns; to empathize and feel their hurt the way they do, then maybe sympathize and do something to help where we can.
Start that out by giving honest thoughts and prayers. Sometimes we can’t do much but we can do that. Besides, putting matters before the Lord is the first, best way to start the healing. Take time this day to shut out the noise and pray when someone needs our prayers. Then move forward however we’re led by Him.
For further reading: Romans 16:3, 2 Corinthians 8:23, Philippians 2:28
Lord Jesus, hear my prayers today and always for those in my life who are in need. I trust You fully that You will begin their healing.