Philippians 2:25 – 3:1a
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me. 3 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
What a wonderful man Epaphroditus was! To be described by Paul as a ”true brother, faithful worker and courageous soldier” would be an amazing accolade. Yet Epaphroditus’ concern was not for his health or his acknowledgement, but for his friends and relatives. He was upset that they were worried about him!
As Christians we are not protected from everything in life. Epaphroditus was at the point of death while trying to do the work God sent him to do. Paul welcomes God’s mercy which saved him from death. He did not blame God for allowing him to get sick in the first place. We need to remember that we are still in the world, and that bad stuff will happen. Paul’s desire for all his brothers and sisters, us included, is not for exemption from the effects of the world, but that God may give us joy no matter what happens.
I am challenged by this passage to
- Follow Epaphroditus’ example and become less self-seeking
- Find joy in God despite circumstances which may occur in life.
Dear Lord, please help me to consider myself less, and others more. Please also help me to remember the joy I have in you, no matter what happens in my life. Amen
Written by Megan Cornell