There are two kinds of people. There always have been. They work in factories, teach in schools, serve in the military, fly airplanes, operate on people, serve in government and occupy office in high-rise building in the center of New York. Many even go to church.
One group does only what is required of them. They are constantly seeking ways, very cleaver ways to minimize their output and do the very least possible to get by undiscovered. That thought can be troublesome if you are a patient!
They know about Jesus’ parable of the second mile but they consider that as something silly. Some are just lazy but for most being a slacker is the clever way to conduct business. They call themselves dexterous or inventive but the problem is more sever than simple nouns can disguise. They conclude it a victory if they can outsmart you by getting the most from giving the least effort.
We all know them and perhaps are even one of them.
Then there are the others. These are the “slack takers!” Something drives them to the head of the pack. Things half done, promises un-kept, tasks unfinished gnaw at them relentlessly. These folk are not content with giving God the minimum. They are “maximum” people!
And so enters Epaphroditus, longtime friend and co-worker with the Apostle Paul. Here is a man who bears no fancy titles of distinction. He’s not in this race for the “perks.” He’s in it for something far more lasting. Paul calls him “brother,” “fellow worker,” “fellow soldier,” “messenger” and “minister of Paul’s needs.” What a job description! I doubt that any one in today’s modern church would have signed up for his job. We want the title! We want the respect and recognition, but not so for Epaphroditus. Yet it is crystal clear that the significance of his life is far deeper than any title of esteem could convey. But one title that could be given him is he was a “slack taker!”
The church in Philippi loved Paul but as in the case in many places their love was more easily talked about than shown. They said all the right things but their actions were different. They fell slack and so emerges the SLACK TAKER!
With personal disregard Epaphroditus fills the gap left in their service. Unknown, working while sick, never giving up and risking his very life Epaphroditus set the bar high for all future “slack takers.”
The price he paid was not to attain the applause of men either. These people in Philippi would have never known his sacrifice had Paul not told them. But as it is with those fearless doers his actions spoke loudly! Loud enough to be recorded in the Bible for all eternity!
Things have changed little since then. Today we still see them both. My question is…
WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (ESV)