“Welcome (Epaphroditus) then in the Lord with all joy, and honor such people, because he came close to death for the work of Christ . . . . “ (Philippians 2:29-30a from Philippians 2:19-3:1)
Some of the most notable and worthy people I have known have not “come close to death” as a result of their work for Christ. But then these people did not live in a time or place where they risked death by working for Christ. Maybe I am being a little picky about this verse, and I do not think Paul meant to exclude others – risk takers or note – from a good welcome either. It is not necessary to risk one’s life in doing Christ’s work. Certainly it makes a more exciting story. It is actually harder and more challenging to lead an authentic Christian life when it is hum-drum and boring. Close calls and risking life and limb can make you grab hold of your faith tightly and refuse to let go. But when you are not challenged in your Christian life and allowed to calmly go about your faith practices, it is easy to become complacent and lax.
Maybe this is something you have not considered before; that the saints that have gone before us were saints because it was a constant struggle to remain saintly. It is easy to look like a saint amongst sinners. But consider the firm believer amongst other such believers. What holds them to a standard and encourages them to be ever more devote and righteous? These are the types of people I look up to as well as the daring-doers of Christianity.
May you gentle reader hold the course as you walk with ease through this Christian life, and may you find saints with quiet and unassuming conviction to emulate. Selah! And quiet and mild shalom for your day.