” 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: 30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”
We come to the end of chapter 2 with Paul finishing up his thoughts on Epaphroditus. It is obvious from the amount of time that he’s been telling them about why he sent Epaphroditus that he wanted them to understand the importance to Epaphroditus to this mission. He was very careful to pick up the young man to be his Messenger to Philippi and he was hoping that they would rejoice when they saw him. And I have no doubt they did since they were asking about him when they heard he was sick.
Paul also tells them that because they were rejoicing it would not bring him sorrow to send Epaphroditus. Paul enjoyed his company, and it was a hard thing for him to send his trusted friend. But he wanted to do what was best for the Philippines church. Paul always looked out for the church first. So he asks the Philippians to receive him with great gladness and hold him up in a high reputation.
On occasion, people from our administering church fellowship come and visit us at our church. We are always very glad to see them and we certainly hold them in high reputation. We should all feel this way about people within our denomination or are fellowship of churches that come to minister or just a visit. Typically, they have labored long and hard for the Gospel, giving of themselves over and over again to achieve the honor of that position they hold. We have no idea of the weight that is on their shoulders if they are serving in a capacity of authority.
Paul also reminds them that it was the work of Christ that caused him to be near death. Epaphroditus gave his all for the gospel. He gave everything he had to Paul and Paul was very grateful for that It makes me ask myself how much am I willing to give for my Church? Would at I go to the extent that Epaphroditus did to back my pastor? To the point that my very life could be at stake? Would I go that far for the leaders of my fellowship? To be honest I really can’t answer that question. It’s a very tough one. Back in those days the church was growing and they were sticking their necks out every time they ministered. Today the church is under a little bit of fire in the United States but we really don’t know persecution. What if someone came into the congregation and threatened the life of my pastor? Would I be willing to take his place? I have to honestly answer and I probably would not. Now I would stand up and say I believe in Jesus Christ if I was going to be shot but I’m not sure I would come to the point of giving up my life for my leader on this earth. That might be a terrible thing to say but I want to be honest.
This thought helps me to understand how much Paul loved Epaphroditus. He knew that Epaphroditus would give his very life to help out in any way he could. Oh, that I would have that kind of dedication myself.
Lord, increase my boldness. It’s not a matter of whether I would ever deny you – I would not. But I want to be like Epaphroditus and be willing to defend my Pastor and those in authority within my fellowship, even to the point of death if necessary. They labor hard for the gospel, and deserve my best. They have always encouraged and loved me. Help me to always hold them n the highest regard.