“Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you. Welcome him with Christian love and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve. For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn’t do from far away.”
- Epaphroditus is mentioned only in Philippians. He was sent by the church to travel to Rome to deliver a gift to Paul (probably monetary). While there he became ill almost to the point of death, but then recovered. His return to Philippi was the occasion for Paul’s letter. Epaphroditus carried the paper with him that contained the words of Paul that today we are halfway through studying. I’m sure he never imagined the impact it would have in the next 2000 years as the Word of God.
- Our world honors those who possess beauty, intelligence, and wealth. Yet Paul teaches us what the church should honor and value in people: 1. A true follower of Christ. 2. Humbly risking their own safety to serve others. 3. Those who endure suffering (even to the point of death) and remain faithful. 4. Those who are more concerned about the needs and feelings of others than their own.
- Epaphroditus longed to see his fellow church member to put them at ease over his previous illness. He is modeling what Paul taught at the beginning of this chapter – “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
- Paul commends Epaphroditus to his church family. This models for us to take time to honor others who humbly and obediently take risks to follow Christ. Romans 12:10 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Epaphroditus didn’t realize the impact his simple act of delivering a gift and a letter would have on future generations. As you consider some of the tasks you do that don’t seem glamorous, can you see how God might use your service to impact His kingdom? (caring for children, taking care of your home, giving someone a meal, ride, or kind word can have a greater impact than you realize.)
What do you model for others that you honor in people? Do you buy into the entertainment industry’s fascination with beauty, talent, intelligence, and wealth? What would your children say you value as qualities in people? Take a moment and consider someone in your church who serves faithfully and humbly. Think of a way you can honor them this weekend.
Adoration: Praise God that He modeled for us the ultimate example of putting others first by dying on the cross for us.
Confession: Ask God to reveal any blind spots in your life today?
Thanksgiving: Thank God that He gives us church family to encourage each other.
Supplication: Pray that God would help you to take delight in honoring others who serve.