“Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household." (Phil. 4:21-22)
Seemingly insignificant passages have great significance. Every saint is significant in the eyes of the Lord and His people. Consider three specific people in the first century who were well respected.
- Faithful Servant: Epaphras. “As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit” (Col. 1:7-8). “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12). “There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 23). This great servant known by Paul likely established the congregation at Colosse. Epaphras was a member of the congregation for which he labored (cf. Col. 4:12). While Paul was a prisoner in Rome, he came bringing word to him of the love that the brethren had for him and the cause of Christ. He was also one who suffered as a prisoner (cf. Philemon 23) like Paul did in Rome. The prices paid by such servants did not go unnoticed by God and by Paul. Servants have always made great sacrifices in every age where the work of the Lord prospers. Paul did not have to go to Colosse to know that the work there would prosper as Epaphras had the same zeal and determination as Paul for the brethren. Such significance needs to be found in every age.
- Fellow Soldier: Epaphroditus. “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18). While this man did Paul a great service in bringing him necessary provisions from the brethren at Philippi while he was in prison, his more notable work was in the continued time with Paul. Paul wrote of him, “Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me” (Phil. 2:25-30). Great soldiers often forget about themselves to keep doing the task.
- Fervent Seeker: Onesiphorus. “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well” (2 Tim. 1:16-18). This self-motivated servant did not let adversity stop him. He would refresh the spirit of Paul many times. He was a true seeking of the kingdom of God and His righteousness (cf. Matt. 6:33). No opportunity was too small.