Words of Worth

Heroes Wanted

March 5, 2016

Heroes wantedCNN is looking for a few good heroes. “Every day” kind of people doing seemingly heroic work. So who’s your hero? If you have one, you may nominate them on CNN’s website by filling out a form that, in addition to basic contact information, only asks two questions. What is the work your hero does? What impact does that work have on others? That’s pretty much it. Oh, there are a few tips to help your nomination stand out from the thousands that CNN receives. Let’s start with the negative tips so we can end on a high note:

1. Nominate yourself since it’s against the rules.
2. Submit the same nomination over and over again because CNN promises to read each nomination.
1. take your time and write a thoughtful heartfelt nomination
2. write as much as you want, but most importantly write from your heart

Additional tips include watching some videos of past winners of the hero award like the 2015 winner, Maggie Doyne, the legal guardian of 50 Nepalese children. In 2005, as a recent high school graduate, Doyne traveled to northern India and spent some time volunteering at a children’s home in which 50 children lived and 160 children attended school. Over time, and with her earned babysitting money ($5,000) and funds from worldwide supporters, Doyne partnered with a Nepali she had met in India, bought some land, and opened a children’s home for those who did not have any family to take care of them. As of 2015, 51 children are living in that home and Maggie Doyne is the legal guardian for all of them. Just an “every day” kind of person, Maggie dedicated her life to this cause.

If the apostle Paul were alive today he could submit Philippians 2:25-30 as his nomination for hero of the year. Who would his hero be? Epaphroditus. Just an ordinary “every day” kind of guy living in Philippi who risked his life for the cause of Christ. Unlike Paul, who was an apostle, and Timothy who was a pastor, Epaphroditus (whose name means “lovely and charming”) did not hold a position or have a title. He was a layman who was a messenger, on behalf of the church of Philippi, to Paul in house arrest in Rome some 800 miles away.

Talk about snail mail, Epaphroditus delivered a “care package” to Paul and went above and beyond the call of duty. In his fervor to serve the Lord by serving Paul, Epaphroditus became seriously ill and almost died. However, God had mercy on Epaphroditus and healed him and Paul sent his friend back home with the newly penned, thoughtful, heartfelt letter to the Philippians (the original manuscript of Philippians) in which Paul wrote:

25 But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; 26 because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.28 Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.29 Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me. (Philippians 2:25-30)

To the Philippians, Epaphroditus was a messenger who delivered a package. To Paul, however, he was so much more: a brother, a fellow worker, and a fellow soldier whose death would have brought “sorrow upon sorrow” for Paul. Epaphroditus was an “every day” kind of guy, who is only mentioned twice in Scripture, and who possessed obvious devotion, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice. He put “the interests of others” before himself and so modeled the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:4). He labored on Paul’s behalf until his own health broke, and, even when he was sick, Epaphroditus took no thought of himself. He was distressed because his church had heard of his illness, and he didn’t want them to worry.

I think if CNN read Paul’s nomination form, Epaphroditus would be exactly the kind of hero they are looking for.

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