Monday, October 12, 2009

My Brother, Worker, and Soldier

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. Philippians 2:25

In one sentence Paul whets my appetite to know this man Epaphroditus. More than that, I have to ask myself are the stellar qualities he lists true of me? Would I be willing to risk life and limb to help someone in prison for the sake of the gospel? Would I be willing to go wherever God called me? It is always wise to count the cost. One thing I have found to be true. Our enemy, the world and our own flesh will be quick to point out what it will cost us to obey. However, they will not tell us about the cost of disobedience.

The church at Philippi sent Epaphroditus as their trustworthy representative. It was an 800 mile journey. No small task in the age they lived. He took Paul their contributions and messages of love and encouragement putting his own life in peril. Paul is so appreciative of this man.

· He’s my brother. We are members of the same family of God.

· He’s my fellow worker. (I went to a conference of a woman teacher who has a worldwide ministry. I introduced her to the women I had brought with me who I led in her studies. She held my eyes and said, “Thank you fellow worker.” It was a very special moment for me to realize she genuinely was grateful and considered me a partner.)

· He’s my fellow soldier. There is special bond between those who have been in the trenches together. Our war is not against flesh and blood but the battle is every bit as real. Helping to move forward the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ involves warfare. Contending for souls involves warfare. When you move out in ministry and service don’t be surprised when you experience resistance. Put on your armor (Eph. 6:13ff) and use the weapons of your warfare. (2Cor. 10:4-5)

I am convicted and inspired as I read of his service. Paul says in Philippians 2:29 “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem.” Why? There aren’t many like him. Also, it is human nature to take the faithful for granted. Most people, who are serving Christ for the right reason, do so with very little fanfare. They don’t have to be constantly thanked and affirmed but, they are human and can grow weary in well-doing.

Epaphroditus’ name only appears in the book of Philippians. When he faithfully carried that letter back to his church could he have imagined that as long as the world endures his life will be used as an example? If he had refused the mission and its challenges, what a loss of reward.

I want to be like Epaphroditus. I am not there yet, but I want to be. Do you? In many places the kingdom of God is languishing because there are not enough brothers and sisters who are also workers and soldiers. Let this example cause us to count the cost and go where the Holy Spirit sends us.

MY PRAYER: Lord, help me to follow you wherever you lead. I want to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Help me not to just count the cost, but to see what a privilege it is to serve you. May all who come behind us find us faithful. In Jesus name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: God will equip me in every good thing to do His will, working in me that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Hebrews 13:21

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