In Philippians 2 Paul writes about some incredible men who shined as lights in the world. The greatest example was Jesus. However, Paul mentions two other ordinary men by name, Timothy and Epaphroditus. Most of you may be familiar with Timothy, but what about Epaphroditus? Let’s consider a couple qualities which made Epaphroditus one of the men the Apostle Paul chose to write about concerning his example.
Epaphroditus Impacted Others:
Paul loved and respected Epaphroditus. Paul calls him, “my brother,” “fellow worker,” and “fellow soldier” (v. 25). The word “brother” is a term of endearment. This word indicates Paul’s love for him. The terms “fellow worker” “fellow soldier” show Paul thought of him as one who was equal to him and worthy of respect. Epaphroditus was a partner in Paul’s ministry for the cause of Christ and apparently made a huge impact on the Apostle.
The church at Philippi loved and respected Epaphroditus. Out of everyone they could have chosen, they chose Epaphroditus to be the one who delivered a financial gift to Paul on their behalf (Phil. 4:18). We wouldn’t trust just anyone to pass on a financial gift for us, would we? Yet, the church at Philippi had such deep admiration, respect and love for Epaphroditus, they chose him. When the church received word he was ill, they must have been concerned because Epaphroditus was longing to go back to them (v. 26). So much so, Paul was sending him back so the church could rejoice (v. 28). Why would the church be so concerned about his illness to the point it distressed Epaphroditus, unless he was a man who had made an impact on their lives.
Epaphroditus Served Others:
Epaphroditus was a servant. The fact Epaphroditus was chosen to make the trip indicates how the church felt about him, but the fact that he chose to make the 700 mile trip from Philippi to Rome says even more about him. He was a servant. Paul, when addressing the church at Philippi concerning him, even said, Epaphroditus ministered to my needs (v. 25). He risked his life to serve and ended up paying a heavy price for his devotion by becoming ill to the point of death (v. 30). He was an unselfish individual who cared more for others than he did himself.
Paul even told the church at Philippi to hold men like him in high regard (v. 29). In other words, honor men like Epaphroditus. Paul wanted the church to give him a welcome home second to none. Why? Perhaps for two reasons: 1) He was a faithful servant of God’s who Paul felt deserved to be honored, 2) It appears even though Epaphroditus was in distress over the church at Philippi, he still wanted to stay and serve/minister to the needs of the Apostle Paul. Paul made sure to point out that it was him who was sending Epaphroditus home and not Epaphroditus who was necessarily making this choice (vs. 28-29). Thus, Paul wanted him honored.
The church needs more people like Epaphroditus. We need men and women who are loved and respected because they are faithful servants of God whose lives impact those around them. If you know people who are always consumed with serving God, why not take a minute and write them a note, shoot them an email or give them a call and tell them how much you admire and respect them. Honor those who deserve honor (Rom. 13:7). The church truly needs more people like Epaphroditus.
Now that’s Something to Think About!