Epaphroditus

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Philippians 2:23-30

Honor such people. (v. 29 NRSV)

Epaphroditus appears only in this letter, but in these few verses Paul paints a
portrait of a lovely rounded character, one we would do well to meditate on and copy.

He is shown in two aspects: in his relationship to Paul, and in his relationship to the
Philippian church. For Paul, he is “my brother, fellow-worker, fellow-soldier.”
Epaphroditus was obviously someone to whom Paul felt close, someone Paul trusted deeply.
And it was a deserved trust. Epaphroditus was a brother, and a worker for the gospel in a
time when that involved truly hard work. He was a soldier of the cross when there was real
fighting to be done, when that could cost you your life. Perhaps the greatest compliment
paid to Epaphroditus was that Paul regarded him as one with himself, an equally committed
co-worker in ministry. In one of the C. S. Lewis’ Narnia stories, Aslan, to the great
delight of a young lion, talks of “us lions.” Paul shares the credit as much as he shares
the ministry.

For the Philippians, Epaphroditus is their messenger, sent by them to express their
love by delivering their help for Paul’s needs, even risking his life to complete his
task. In his activity Epaphroditus is a wonderful role model of Christian service. In his
character, he is a caring, sensitive person, sorry to cause distress, not wanting anyone
to fuss about him.

Take some time to thank God for an Epaphroditus in your church. As the apostle says,
“Honor such people.”

PRAYER

Lord, help me to be like Epaphroditus.