Friday, June 2, 2023

Hidden Nuggets

By David R. Ferguson


    Years ago, Carey and I took a vacation to Colorado. We stopped along the way to spend some time admiring the view before us as a stream cascaded down the mountainside. Colorado is arguably one of the most beautiful spots on God’s Earth, and the vista was breathtakingly spectacular! As we walked along the way taking in the wonders of God’s creation before us, I stumbled over a rock that was in my path. I picked it up and took it with us, and it was only later that I discovered that within that rock were some hidden nuggets of gold.

    Sometimes when we read the Bible we tend to gloss over certain sections, deeming them to be of little value to us. Yes, we can see the big picture of God’s love spread out before us, but sometimes we stumble over portions that are right before our feet. But even in those portions of Scripture we initially deem tiresome and tedious can be found some hidden gold nuggets of immense value to those who love the Lord.

    Take, for example, the following written by the Apostle Paul. In Philippians 2:25-30 [RSV] Paul writes, “I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy; and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete your service to me.”

    The members of the congregation in Philippi were deeply concerned about the Apostle Paul while he was in custody and awaiting trial in Rome. Out of tremendous appreciation for his work of bringing them the gospel, they sent Paul a gift to support him. They chose one of their faithful members to take their gift to Paul. His name was Epaphroditus. This man not only served as a messenger from his congregation, but he also stayed with Paul to help him. Day after day, Epaphroditus took care of Paul’s needs. While unselfishly offering his service, Epaphroditus fell ill. The nature of his sickness isn’t revealed, but it was so serious that it brought him to the brink of death. The people in the Philippian congregation heard about the crisis, and concern filled their hearts for their dear Christian friend. Paul decided to give up his personal servant whom he deeply appreciated and send him home. His Christian friends and family would rejoice to have him back in good health. Jesus’ love is the basis for us to demonstrate loving concern for others, too.

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Mentor Church of Christ in Mentor, OH.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: or

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