READ : Philippians 2:25-30
My brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need. (v. 25)
In a society where Jews and Greeks had nothing but disdain for each other, for Paul to call Epaphroditus, a Greek, his brother is an astonishing testimony to the power of the gospel. It testifies to our life together in the church as family regardless of our differences. True, some families are terribly dysfunctional, but the genius of family is that its members matter to each other. Our homes are open to family; we will fly halfway around the world to be with our family members in their distress. The church is God’s family.
More, Paul calls him a “co-worker.” He’s not a spectator. If the true size of a church is its sending capacity and not its seating capacity, Epaphroditus enlarged the church of Philippi. Peter Marty, writing in The Christian Century, says: “As soon as personal edification becomes the primary focus of ‘attending’ church, individualism begins to infect the health of the church, and the possibility of a grander sense of community is diminished.” Epaphroditus gave himself as a co-worker with Paul, and it nearly cost him his life.
He was also a fellow soldier. He fought the good fight for the sake of the gospel. He knew that he was engaged in a great spiritual battle. As Paul’s fellow soldier, he made inroads into the kingdom of unbelief.
Lord Jesus, empower us to be useful to your church. Amen.